Fans of horse racing Triple Crown runs will have to wait at least one more year for a sweat. Longshot Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will skip the May 21 Preakness Stakes, according to owner Rick Dawson.
Dawson said the team had originally planned for Rich Strike to only run in one of the first two legs of the Triple Crown due to the short timetable of two races in three weeks. The horse unexpectedly ran the Derby as an alternate after a late scratch, making history with a win at 80-to-1 odds.
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Why Is Rich Strike Skipping The Preakness Stakes?
Simply put, Rich Strike’s connections said in a statement they want to give him more time to recover. The two-week timetable falls well shy of the team’s plan to run him on five-plus weeks’ rest.
“Obviously, with our tremendous effort and win in the Derby it’s very, very tempting to alter our course and run in the Preakness at Pimlico, which would be a great honor for all our group,” he said. “However, after much discussion and consideration with my trainer Eric Reed and a few others, we are going to stay with our plan of what’s best for ‘Ritchie’ is what’s best for our group, and pass on running in the Preakness, and point toward the Belmont in approximately five weeks.”
Due to the tremendous amount of fanfare, historical significance, and ultimately money involved in a Triple Crown run, most Kentucky Derby winners run in the Preakness. In fact, many horses over the past few decades have emerged victorious from the Derby and Preakness only to falter at the longer Belmont Stakes.
It’s not unprecedented, though. Another recent longshot winner, Country House, also skipped the Preakness after winning at 65-to-1. However, Country House crossed the finish line second in the Derby and was elevated to champion after Maximum Security was DQ’d by Churchill Downs after the jockey impeded the path of another horse.
How Does Rich Strike’s Absence Change Preakness Stakes?
Handle will undoubtedly take a hit as some casual racing fans may tune out due to the lack of drama involved in a triple crown chase.
Rich Strike was unlikely to run as the favorite, though. Despite his Beyer Speed Figure of 101 for the race, horse racing writers guessed he’d be around +800 for the Preakness with second-place finisher and Derby post-time favorite Epicenter in the field.
Keep an eye on TheLines race week for ongoing Preakness coverage, including horse profiles and staff picks.