Coming from way off the pace, Exaggerator blew by the pace setters in the homestretch, romping to a 6-1/4 length victory over favored Mor Spirit in the muddy Santa Anita Derby.
Exaggerator started slowly and was some 10 lengths behind the front runners on the backstretch. He quickly gained ground though, and went three wide on the turn and kicked it up a gear coming for home. After a fast pace set by Danzing Candy, the front runners were too tired to stage a comeback, and Exaggerator went by them as if they had stopped. Mor Spirit tried to stage an less-than-spirited comeback to pass Uncle Lino for third, but it was too little too late.
Exaggerator bounced back well following his disappointing third-place finish in the San Felipe Stakes March 12. He has now won four races in nines starts, with four of those non-winning races coming against unbeaten Nyquist.
The time for the 1 1/8 mile race was 1:49.66.
Although coming off the pace from such a fast pace was inevitable, his dominating performance left some wondering if the son of Curlin should be among the Derby favorites. It all depends on the pace of the Derby, doesn’t it?