A mud-caked Exaggerator wins the Santa Anita Derby
Report: USA, Saturday
Santa Anita: Santa Anita Derby (Grade 1) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo
EXAGGERATOR (Keith Desormeaux/Kent Desormeaux) catapulted himself into the upper reaches of ante-post betting on the Kentucky Derby with a stunning victory in the slop at Santa Anita.
The three-year-old son of Curlin is now generally rated second favourite behind the unbeaten Nyquist for North America’s most celebrated race after blowing away his rivals in the Santa Anita Derby.
Exaggerator was fully 15 lengths detached from the rest of the field at halfway in the $1 million event before launching an astonishing charge to circle the entire field and win going away by more than six lengths from Bob Baffert’s Kentucky contender Mor Spirit.
“He was the fourth horse that I rode in the mud today and the others felt like they had ice skates on,” said jockey Kent Desormeaux. “Exaggerator felt like he had track shoes on. He really liked the going and I think that was part of his incredible effort today. He enjoyed the mud.”
Exaggerator is on offer at anything between 7-1 and 10-1 for the Kentucky Derby but if he is to win on May 7, he will have to overturn form with the favourite Nyquist, who has twice beaten him in the past, including when he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in October.
Also on Saturday
Keeneland: Blue Grass Stakes (Grade 1) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo
Nyquist’s Breeders’ Cup form was paid another compliment as Brody’s Cause (Dale Romans/Luis Saez) recorded his second Grade 1 win at his home track, where he also won last year’s Breeders’ Futurity.
In that race, he beat Exaggerator, who was also behind him when the pair finished third and fourth to Kentucky favourite Nyquist in the Breeders’ Cup.
In Saturday’s $1m event, Brody’s Cause was stepping up markedly on his reappearance effort at Tampa Bay, where he was unplaced behind Destin. Produced from a long way back in a maximum field of 14, the son of Giant’s Causeway scored by a length and three-quarters over My Man Sam in a race where Coolmore’s Zulu was a major disappointment, beating just two home.
Aqueduct: Wood Memorial (Grade 1) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo
Another Kentucky Derby reverse for Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell team as Shagaf forfeited his unbeaten record with a lacklustre fourth, a week after highly rated Mohaymen had been beaten for the first time in the Florida Derby.
Five years after owner Mike Repole’s Uncle Mo flopped in the Wood, his son Outwork (Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez) sloshed through the mud before gamely holding a fierce challenge from outsider Trojan Nation.
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