Preakness winner Exaggerator confirmed himself a top class horse as he banished the memories of his disappointing effort in the Belmont Stakes, with a storming home stretch run to win the Grade 1 Betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park this evening.
This nine furlong contest was keenly anticipated, as it featured the return to action of Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, who had lost his unbeaten record to Exaggerator in the Preakness Stakes and was bidding to gain revenge on that horse here.
Six horses went to post in wet conditions, with Nyquist breaking quickly and moving straight to the lead, while Exaggerator raced several lengths last.
At the first turn Nyquist, American Freedom and Awesome Slew led the way by a few lengths from Gun Runner and Sunny Ridge.
American Freedom moved into the lead on the back stretch, while Exaggerator took closer order at a relatively early stage. Nyquist, racing to the inside, moved back upsides American Freedom at the half mile pole and turned for home in front, but the writing was soon on the wall.
Nyquist led off the bend but American Freedom battled back; however, Exaggerator swept past the pair with a strong kick under Kent Desormeaux and cleared away for an emphatic victory by a couple of lengths from American Freedom, with Sunny Ridge third and Nyquist only fourth.