Rich Strike, winner of the Kentucky Derby, does not run in Preakness | Culture & Leisure

Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will not race in the Preakness. Owner Rich Dawson made the stunning announcement 10 days before the race in Maryland. This means there will be no Triple Crown winner for a fourth consecutive year. Dawson said he and trainer Eric Reed agreed to stick with Rich Strike’s original plan and rest him for five weeks. The plan now is to have Rich Strike ready to race in the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 11.

Rich Strike will not race in the Preakness after his major upset to win the Kentucky Derby, preventing horse racing from having a Triple Crown winner for a fourth consecutive year.

Owner Rich Dawson made the stunning announcement Thursday, 10 days before the race in Maryland.

Dawson said he and trainer Eric Reed agreed to stick with Rich Strike’s original plan and rest him for five weeks. Rich Strike, at 80-1, was the biggest shot by far to win the Derby in over a century. Only Donerail in 1913 paid more to win.

The plan now is to have Rich Strike ready to race in the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 11. Dawson said it was wise for the colt to rest more and not face a short two-week delay at Pimlico.

“It is very, very tempting to change our course and run in the Preakness at Pimlico, which would be a great honor for our whole group,” Dawson said in a press release. “However, after much discussion and consideration…we will stick with our plan of what is best for Ritchie.

“We thank the wonderful people of Preakness and Pimlico who have reached out and very much appreciate the invitation.”

Reed did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Rich Strike was not expected to be the morning line favorite for the Preakness, with Derby runner-up Epicenter and Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath expected to be in the pack. He could have been the first Derby winner not to be Preakness favorite at post time since 2012, when I’ll Have Another won the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

With the surprise withdrawal of Rich Strike, the Preakness will continue without the official Derby champion for the second time in four years. Country House and disqualified winner Maximum Security skipped the race in 2019.

Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, finished third in the 2021 Preakness after testing positive after the Derby for an unauthorized substance on race day. Mandaloun, who was elevated to victory in the 2021 Derby long after Medina Spirit tested positive, did not race in the Preakness last year.

Rich Strike’s incredible charge past the leaders on the Churchill Downs stretch after he was initially ruled out of the Derby ground has become one of the sport’s biggest upsets. The owners, trainer Reed and jockey Sonny Leon had all never won the race.

Adding to the impressive story, Rich Strike had only won once before and was claimed for $30,000 – racing pennies and unlikely for Derby-caliber horses.

Neither Reed nor the Maryland Jockey Club immediately responded to AP messages seeking comment.

With Rich Strike pointing to the Belmont, the Preakness appears to be a wide open race among returning Derby horses, potentially including fourth-placed Zandon and Simplification. Trainer Chad Brown, who rides Zandon, is also expected to participate in early voting.

Horse racing has had two recent Triple Crown winners: American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018. Each was trained by Baffert, who is currently serving a suspension in Kentucky for drug violations seen in Maryland and elsewhere. Baffert transferred Derby horses Taiba and Messier to former assistant Tim Yakteen.

Neither should work in the Preakness.

Longtime friend of Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas, confirmed on Wednesday that the Secret Oath filly will race in the Preakness and decided to choose a different race next Saturday for Ethereal Road – the horse that was scratched to make room in the Derby for Rich Strike. ___

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