Horses can typically display a bit of a down period following a race, which is totally normal. Trainer Keith Desormeaux expected one for his Preakness winner but that swing never came. “He’s good,’ Desormeaux commented. “He jogged a couple rounds on the track and he looks no worse for wear. He’s eating up his feed and his legs are tight and cold. He’s just doing all the things we want our horses to do post-race.”
It’s quite a relief for thoroughbred fans to see the Preakness winner in such fine form, especially given the circumstances that have befallen his main rival. Nyquist continues to recover from spiking a fever due to a higher-than-normal white blood cell count. While the prognosis on the winner of the Kentucky Derby remains positive, Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill are going to keep him out of the Belmont Stakes, giving Exaggerator free reign over the field.
The fact that Exaggerator has responded so well to the post-race recovery process will continue to keep his stock sky high heading in to the final leg of the Triple Crown. The fact that he only has to travel about 300 miles – a trip that takes about 6 hours by caravan – to get to Belmont Park is also going to aid in his prep for the final leg.
“I can’t quite explain it,” he said. “They usually are a little down after a race. I think if a horse is fit and right mentally going into a race, they should recover quickly. They’re fit athletes. We give them time to recover, and as long as they have a good mental constitution, a return to normalcy in 24 to 36 hours is not out of the question. He does it with regularity.”
As with other athletes, winning can create advantageous mindsets in the wake of a competition and that feels like what’s happening here. If Exaggerator remains on course, then there’s very little standing in between him and a win at the Belmont Stakes on June 11th. It’s full steam ahead for the Preakness winner.