Rich Strike, winner of the Kentucky Derby, skips the Preakness Stakes

Rich Strike, winner of the Kentucky Derby, skips the Preakness Stakes

Rich Strike, the unlikely winner of last week’s Kentucky Derby, will not be competing in the Preakness Stakes on May 21 at Pimlico Race Course, ensuring there will be no Triple Crown winner this year.

Rick Dawson, the owner of Rich Strike, released a statement Thursday saying they will instead focus on the June 11th Belmont Stakes to get more rest and recovery time.

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“Obviously, given our tremendous effort and our Derby win, it’s very, very tempting to change course and compete in Preakness at Pimlico, which would be a huge honor for our entire group,” Dawson said in a statement. “However, after much discussion and deliberation with my trainer Eric Reed and a few others, we’re going to stick with our plan of what’s best for Ritchie, what’s best for our group and forgo running in the Preakness and show the Belmont in about five weeks.”

The 80-1 long shot stunned the horseracing world last weekend when he sped past favorites Epicenter and Zandon to win the Kentucky Derby. With just two weeks to prepare before the Triple Crown second leg, Dawson Reed decided to consider a later date.

Reed did not immediately respond with a request for comment. On Sunday morning he was asked if he felt compelled to run in the Preakness.

“My duty is to make Rich Strike first,” Reed said. “And if Rich is ready to go and I think it’s the right thing for him, then we will go. Nothing against those Triple Crown races, but I don’t get those horses 10 or 12 a year to try and get one of those. I need him for a long time. … I want to go. Of course we want to do that.”

Horse racing’s last Triple Crown came in 2018 with Bob Baffert’s Justify.

Jason Frakes writes for The Courier-Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network. jfrakes@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @KentuckyDerbyCJ.

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