Rich Strike will not run in the Preakness after his major upset to win the Kentucky Derby, keeping 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 the initial plan for Rich Strike and rest him for five weeks, the AP reports. Rich Strike, at 80-1, was the biggest long shot to win the Derby in more than a century. Only Donerail in 1913 paid more to win.
The plan now is to have Rich Strike ready to run in the Belmont Stakes on June 11. Dawson said it was wise for the colt to get extra rest and not face a short, two-week turnaround at Pimlico. "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," Dawson said in a news release. "However, after much discussion and consideration … we are going to stay with our plan of what's best for Ritchie." Reed did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Rich Strike was not expected to be the morning line favorite for the Preakness, per the AP, with Derby runner-up Epicenter and Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath set to be part of the field. He could have been the first Derby winner not to go off as the Preakness post time favorite since 2012 when I’ll Have Another won the first two legs of the Triple Crown. The Preakness now will go on without the official Derby champion for the second time in four years. Country House and disqualified winner Maximum Security skipped the race in 2019. Horse racing has had two recent Triple Crown winners: American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018.
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