Multiple Grade I winner Exaggerator, who handed champion Nyquist his first career loss when he defeated that one in this year’s Preakness Stakes, has been retired from racing and will enter stud at WinStar Farm. A stud fee has yet to be announced.
Exaggerator enjoyed a champion-level campaign as a 3-year-old this year, winning the Grade I Santa Anita Derby and Grade I Haskell Invitational in addition to his triumph in the middle leg of the Triple Crown. The son of Curlin had been off form in recent outings, however, finishing seventh in the Grade II Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 24 after running 11th in the Grade I Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 27.
“We could not be more excited to add another classic winner of the caliber of Exaggerator to the WinStar stallion roster,” Elliott Walden, WinStar President & CEO said in a news release. “He is a sound horse that passes all physical exams, but as the only 3-year-old to test all the Triple Crown races and summer classics, he’s a horse that is asking us for a rest. The fact he remains sound after 15 big-time starts in the last 16 months is a testament to his ability, consistency, fortitude, and class. He is an extreme racehorse — a tough, durable throwback to the old days, like his sire Curlin.”
The dark bay colt finished second to Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby before turning the tables on his rival two weeks later in the Preakness. In the Haskell this summer, Exaggerator earned his fourth triple-digit Beyer of 2016 — tops among all 3-year-olds in North America — at his fourth different racetrack.
“Some have questioned his record on a fast track, however, Exaggerator ran everywhere, in all types of conditions, and always faced the best, from Santa Anita to Saratoga,” Walden added. “If you look at how the multiple different speed-figure makers rated Exaggerator, it actually bears out that he was as fast — or even faster — on a dry track as he was on an off track.”
Exaggerator was also one of the most accomplished 2-year-olds of his crop a year ago, earning just shy of a million dollars with victories in the Grade II, $200,000 Saratoga Special and Grade IIII Delta Downs Jackpot.
“We believed in this horse from the very beginning,” said trainer Keith Desormeaux. “He is an outstanding individual with class and looks, and he’s by a top sire in Curlin. He checked all the boxes for me when I bought him as a yearling. Exaggerator had a tremendous racing career, and it’s rewarding that he lived up to our expectations.”
Campaigned by owners Big Chief Racing, LLC, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Rocker O Ranch, LLC et al, Exaggerator retires with six wins from 15 starts and $3,581,120 in earnings. He is out of the Vindication mare Dawn Raid, a stakes-placed 2-year-old performer herself and half-sister to Canadian champion Embur’s Song.
“Exaggerator is a special horse,” Big Chief Racing’s Matt Bryan said. “He took us on the ride of our lives.”