Classic winner and leading sophomore Exaggerator, the only 3-year-old colt with three Grade 1 wins in 2016, has been retired from racing and will enter stud at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky.
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“We could not be more excited to add another classic winner of the caliber of Exaggerator to the WinStar stallion roster,” said Elliott Walden, WinStar President & CEO. “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.”
Exaggerator enjoyed a champion-level campaign as a 3-year-old this year, turning in dominant performances to win three of the biggest seven-figure Grade 1 races in America: the $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1), $1,500,000 Preakness S. (G1), and $1,000,000 Haskell Invitational (G1). He stamped himself as one of the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby (G1) after his emphatic 6 ¼-length romp in the Santa Anita Derby in April, earning a 103 Beyer – the fastest among all 3-year-old colts heading into the Run for the Roses at Churchill.
The striking dark bay colt was a close runner-up in the Derby before turning the tables on Nyquist 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.”
Ragozin’s Len Friedman confirmed: “Exaggerator’s outstanding effort of 4 on our Sheets back in February on a fast track was the best 3-year-old number run at that time, showing his outstanding ability on all dirt track surfaces.”
Jerry Brown of Thoro-Graph also agreed, and believes Exaggerator’s Haskell performance towards the end of a long campaign is likely to blame for a tired horse after July: “His (Kentucky) Derby number is right in line, but his Haskell cooked him.”
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 marquee victories in the $200,000 Saratoga Special S. (G2) and $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot S. (G3) – giving him wins in four total stakes races that carried a purse of a million dollars or more. He was also runner-up in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland, beaten just three lengths after getting forced out wide early in the race.
“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 a stellar record that features wins at six different tracks. In just a 16-month span, he made 15 starts at 10 different racetracks coast to coast and amassed $3,581,120 in earnings – making him Horse of the Year Curlin’s highest lifetime earner and only three-time Grade 1-winning son. Exaggerator 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.”
A stud fee for Exaggerator will be announced at a later date. For more information about Exaggerator, please contact Kyle Wilson, Sean Tugel, or Caroline Walsh at 859-873-1717.