Exaggerator heads 14-horse Travers field

Aug 25, 2016 by James Scully/Brisnet.com

Winner of the Preakness (G1) and runner-up in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Exaggerator can lay a strong claim to divisional 3-year-old male honors with a victory in Saturday’s $1.25 million Travers (G1) at Saratoga.

Known as the “Midsummer Derby,” the 1 ¼-mile Travers will feature a full field of 14 for the first time since 1977 and Exaggerator will be seeking his fourth Grade 1 tally of the year for trainer Keith Desormeaux. The Curlin colt captured the Santa Anita Derby (G1), Preakness and the July 31 Haskell Invitational (G1) over sloppy tracks, and fast conditions are expected for the Travers, but Exaggerator won last year’s Saratoga Special (G2) on fast ground.

Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, a three-time Kentucky Derby winner, retains the mount on the 3-1 morning line favorite.

Recently inducted Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen will send out a pair in Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Creator and Kentucky Derby third-placer Gun Runner, and both colts will be attempting to rebound from unplaced efforts in the Jim Dandy (G2) and Haskell, respectively.

Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, a four-time Kentucky Derby victor, also has a duo in American Freedom and Arrogate, a pair of late-starting colts who were forced to miss the Triple Crown after making their career debuts in April.

Chad Brown, a native of nearby Mechanicville, New York who is well on his way to winning his first Saratoga training title, will send out a trio of runners in Connect, Gift Box and My Man Sam.

Other contenders include multiple graded stakes winner Destin, who followed a sixth in the Kentucky Derby with a nose second in the Belmont Stakes and a third in the Jim Dandy; Governor Malibu, fourth in the Belmont Stakes and second in the Jim Dandy; and Jim Dandy upsetter Laoban.

Scheduled for 5:44 p.m. (ET), the Travers is the 11th race on a blockbuster 13-race program that includes seven stakes. NBC will provide coverage of the Travers from 4:30-6 p.m.

(Benoit Photo)

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