As the 148th Belmont Stakes draws closer, Exaggerator continues to reign above all contenders for the final jewel of Triple Crown, but he does have at least one new potential threat in Governor Malibu.
According to latest odds from Sportsbook.ag, Exaggerator, who silenced Nyquist’s Triple Crown bid with a ferocious run at the Preakness Stakes, improved from a 7/5 favorite just six days ago to an overwhelming 10/11. The 1 1/2-mile and $1.5 million Belmont has clearly become the 3-year-old Curlin colt’s race to lose.
Exaggerator hit the Belmont track on Monday and his connections are easing him into the new surroundings.
"He was really good," assistant trainer Julie Clark told BloodHorse.com. "The track is so big, it kind of looks like they're going slower than they are, but he went in a nice good pace. Not fast, not slow, just right in the middle.
However, Governor Malibu, sired by Malibu Moon, has risen the ranks from a 25/1 longshot to 13/2 in the latest odds, replacing Suddenbreakingnews (9/1) and Cherry Wine (8/1) as Exaggerator’s main competition when the race takes place Saturday, June 11.
As of now, trainer Christophe Clement’s contender isn’t a guaranteed start for the Belmont but he’s shown promise during training. On May 27, the Peter Pan Stakes (Grade 2) runner-up ran five furlongs over 1:01 1/5 on the main Belmont track, according to BloodHorse.
Clement, who won the 2014 Belmont with Tonalist, praised Governor Malibu’s work.
"When you run so well in the Peter Pan, I had to consider the Belmont Stakes," Clement said to BloodHorse. "He has never stopped stepping up. We came from a New York-bred stakes in the winter to the (Federico Tesio), which he won but was disqualified (for interference). We ran a really good race in the Peter Pan, finishing well all the way to the wire.
"He wants to go long on dirt, he trains at Belmont, and he belongs to people who really enjoy New York racing. It is ambitious, but I think he deserves a shot at it."
Clement told the site that Governor Malibu will work again on either June 3 or June 4.
Odds to Win 2016 Belmont Stakes
Governor Malibu 13/2
Cherry Wine 8/1
Brody’s Cause 17/1
Its All Relevant 25/1
Wild About Deb 25/1