The 2016 Belmont Stakes was setting up to be a showdown between Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator, but news broke early Tuesday morning that Nyquist had been pulled from the Belmont due to sickness.
Shortly after, Exaggerator’s trainer, Keith Desormeaux, joined The Jim Rome Show and shared his reaction to the news of Nyquist being pulled from the final leg of the Triple Crown.
“The luster of the race is not going to be the same, and I was looking forward to the rivalry,” a disappointed Desormeaux said. “This is fun man, it’s good for us. It’s good for participants and it’s mainly good for the fans, and because he’s out, we’ve lost a lot of luster.”
Although the trainer did seem positive about Nyquist’s long-term health and another possible meeting between the two champion thoroughbreds.
“I’m glad to hear that it’s only a fever. Those horses rebound from that with just a little light training and time off,” Desormeaux said. “You know what they say, champions are made in the fall, so Nyquist will be back and strong in the fall, there’s no doubt.”
Rome, who also owns a thoroughbred operation, Jungle Racing, along with some of his partners, recently sent Desormeaux two colts, one sired by Malibu Moon and the other Dominus. Desormeaux gave Rome an update on their progress, and laughed about not being on the same page with Rome’s blood stock agent Alex Solis II about the colts’ racing style.
“The Dominus is going to be the one that’s going to be early and more geared towards sprinting, and the Malibu Moon is your route horse. So Alex and I actually differ in our opinions there. We will see who is right,” Desormeaux said, before also noting that the Dominus colt, Straight Fire, won’t be one dimensional. “He’s probably going to be faster earlier, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get a distance. No, I train for distance, and he will be trained to do that first. But if you held a gun to my head and said Keith pick the sprinter, it would be the Dominus.”
As for if the two colts will be ready for Del Mar’s Summer Meet, starting July 15th, the trainer gave the green light.
“Both of them, barring any issue, they will be ready for Del Mar, yes,” Desormeaux said.