NEW YORK — The post position worked out well for Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, leaving him hopeful for a clear path to sweep to victory aboard Exaggerator in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.
Exaggerator, the Preakness winner, drew an outside No. 11 post in a 13-horse field Wednesday and was made the 9-5 morning-line favorite for the final leg of the Triple Crown, a 11/2-mile lap around cavernous Belmont Park.
"It's a wonderful, wonderful position," Desormeaux said. "I can't see any horse that would cross over on him. I'd like to establish position preferably without him getting a grain of sand in his face."
And if that happens and "if I could have a dream run … I dream him forwardly placed and just being able, dreamingly, to decide when to pull the trigger."
In the Preakness, Exaggerator stormed into the lead at the head of stretch and splashed his way to a 31/2-length win, handing Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist the first loss of his career.
With no Triple Crown on the line and Nyquist sitting out the Belmont after recently recovering from a fever, there's little buzz surrounding the Belmont. That doesn't bother Desormeaux, or his brother, Keith, Exaggerator's trainer.
Challengers are lined up, with four trainers have two horses each in the field: Todd Pletcher, who runs horses at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar; Dale Romans, Steve Asmussen and Dallas Stewart.
Pletcher could be the most formidable foe with 5-1 second choice Stradivari and 6-1 third-choice Destin. Romans will send out Preakness runnerup Cherry Wine (8-1) and Derby also-ran Brody's Cause (20-1), winner of the Blue Grass Stakes.