Big Chief LLC’s Exaggerator put in his final work for the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (GI) on Oct. 3 at Keeneland going five furlongs in 1:01 with Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard.
“He looked awesome,” said Julie Clark, assistant to trainer Keith Desormeaux. “He was real strong and galloped out nice “His progression back has been a little slower. Last week’s work was a little on the slow side so we wanted to ask a little more this time. Brian actually said that he didn’t have to ask and that he was a little eager to go around there so we’re happy.”
The homebred son of Curlin’s most recent outing was a victory in the Saratoga Special (GII) on Aug. 16.
“I liked his last race,” Clark said. “He was at the back in the early stages but moved up and didn’t get rattled sitting behind those horses. I think he got a little impatient with [jockey] Junior [Alvarado] and said, ‘Hey we’re going,’ so he showed a lot of maturity. He came out of that race great. The next day you walk him and think ‘Okay, this thing needs to run.’”
Clark compared Exaggerator to last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) winner Texas Red.
“Texas Red was mentally just a little more focused,” she said. “This horse on the other hand is all over the map.This horse is just never tired; every day he is a bundle of energy. When he’s on the track it’s night and day. He looked so mature in the [Saratoga] Special.”
Also breezing from the Desormeaux barn on Saturday morning was Decked Out, who worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 in preparation for the $400,000 Alcibiades (GI) on Oct. 2 at Keeneland.
“She’s been training real nice,” Clark said of the homebred daughter of Street Boss. “We’ve been getting her to relax a little bit and I think that’ll help her. The fitness is there for sure.”
Decked Out’s most recent start was in the Pocahontas (GII) where she was fifth beaten six lengths.
Saturday’s work tab at Churchill Downs also featured Radar Racing LLC’s Rated R Superstar., who is eying the Breeders’ Futurity. The homebred son of Kodiak Kowboy went five furlongs in 1:01.80 with Calvin Borel up for trainer Kenny McPeek.
“He worked super,” McPeek said. “Calvin[Borel] worked him real well and he set down just a beautiful breeze. Everything’s all good. All systems go.”
Working in company with Rated R Superstar was stablemate Dothraki Queen. The Pocahontas winner owned by Magdalena Racing LLC went five furlongs in 1:03.80 with Corey Lanerie up in preparation for the Alcibiades.
RIDE ON CURLIN RETURNS TO WORK TAB – Dan Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin returned to the work tab for the first time since a well-beaten ninth in the Alysheba (GII) on this year’s Kentucky Oaks undercard. The son of Curlin worked a bullet three furlongs in :35.60 for trainer William “Bronco Billy” Gowan.
“He looked good this morning,” Gowan said. “Whenever I get him fit enough, we’ll find a race for him to come back. My goal is the Fall Meet at Churchill. If everything goes right, he’ll race next year. That’s what we want to do with him. When he set the track record at Ellis we knew he was going to be something. He was one of those horses that never had anything wrong with him going all the way up to the Kentucky Derby. It’s been pretty easy.”
KEEN ICE GETS “EASY WEEK” BEFORE TRAINING FOR BREEDERS’ CUP – Donegal Racing’s Keen Ice took it easy this week, according to trainer Dale Romans, who decided not to breeze the Travers (GI) winner.
“He’s got a long ways to go,” Romans said. “Since we decided not to run him in between [the Travers and Breeders’ Cup Classic], we’re going to give him an easy week this week and we’ll get him cranked out next week. We’ll probably just work every week up to the Breeders’ Cup.”
Prior to his Travers Stakes triumph, the homebred son of Curlin ran behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Haskell Invitational (GI) and the Belmont Stakes (GI) where he ran second and third, respectively.
BACK TO WORK FOR PROMISE ME SILVER – Robert Lutrell’s Promise Me Silver returned to the work tab for the first time since a well-beaten 10th in the Prioress (GII) at Saratoga. The Texas-bred daughter of Silver City breezed a half-mile in :47.20 for trainer Bret Calhoun.
“She worked real well,” Calhoun said. “We were just looking for an easy half and she looked great, it was actually a bit faster than what we wanted. Everything went well.”
Calhoun does not have a spot targeted for the 3-year-old filly, who has not found the winner’s circle since a triumph in the Eight Belles (GIII) on this year’s Kentucky Oaks undercard.
FAMILY ADVENTURE DAY SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY’S SEPTEMBER MEET CLOSER – Presented by Kroger and in partnership with Kosair Children’s Hospital, Family Adventure Day will be held Sunday – closing day of Churchill Downs’ 11-date September Meet.
While adults enjoy the final day of racing, the kiddos will relish numerous activities throughout the day including inflatables, a petting zoo and miniature pony rides, a video game truck, stick horse races, face painters, sidewalk chalk, corn hole, a hay maze and more.
There also will be meet and greets with Churchill Downs’ mascot Churchill Charlie, the Kentucky Derby Museum’s resident miniature pony Winston and track bugler Steve Buttleman, plus a horse racing education station and special activities from Kosair geared toward taking care of your child’s mind, body and spirit. The popular Kona Ice Truck will be present, as well.
Tickets for adults and children age 3 and up are $8 in advance online at ChurchillDowns.com or $10 at the gate on Sept. 27. One dollar of every event ticket will benefit Kosair Children’s Hospital. Family Adventure Day tickets include admission and access to the Courtyard (Section 119) for trackside viewing plus a wristband to access for all activities beneath the Grandstand Terrace.
WHO’S THE CHAMP? HANDICAPPING CONTEST RETURNS SUNDAY – The last “Who’s the Champ? Handicapping Contest” of the September Meet is Sunday in Churchill Downs’ ITW area on the second floor of the Clubhouse. Bettors can enter for $35 ($30 for TSC Elite members) and are required to make mythical $2 Win/Place bets on Races 3-8. The highest bankroll will win a $1,000 cash voucher. Second place is a $500 voucher and third is a $250 voucher. Registration takes place Sunday between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the top of the Gate 17 escalators.