Preakness winner Exaggerator joins Haskell field

The Nyquist-Exaggerator rivalry is set to resume, this time in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

Officials at the Jersey Shore track said Exaggerator's connections confirmed that the Preakness winner will be entered in the race on Thursday.

''What a pleasant surprise,'' Monmouth Park President Bob Kulina said Wednesday.

The unexpected development provides the Haskell with a compelling matchup: Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist against Preakness winner Exaggerator.

''Any time two Triple Crown race winners go against each other, it's huge,'' Kulina said. ''And usually a great race.''

It won't top last year's breathtaking moment with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, but it's a more than adequate follow-up. A year ago, American Pharoah blew away the field in the Haskell in his first race back after becoming the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.

Nyquist had defeated Exaggerator four times before his first career loss in the Preakness. Nyquist did not run in the Belmont; Exaggerator finished 11th.

The field for the 1 1/8-mile Haskell will include the first three Derby finishers: Nyquist, Exaggerator and Gun Runner. Also set for the race are Brody's Cause, Sunny Ridge, American Freedom and Awesome Slew.

After the Belmont, trainer Keith Desormeaux chose to keep Exaggerator in New York and plan for the Jim Dandy at Saratoga on Saturday, and the Travers on Aug. 27.

''I got a call this morning,'' Kulina said, ''and was told `we're not sure yet but we think we're coming your way.''

Nyquist arrived at the track later Wednesday after being shipped from California. Exaggerator will arrive on Thursday.

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Follow Richard Rosenblatt on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/rosenblattap

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