Rich Strike’s handlers praised the “refreshing” decision to keep the horse away from Preakness

Rich Strike’s handlers praised the “refreshing” decision to keep the horse away from Preakness

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The decision to keep Rich Strike out of the preakness after the colt’s historic win in the Kentucky Derby last week drew praise on Thursday.

Owner Richard Dawson, trainer Eric Reed and others associated with the Derby winner agreed to rest the horse rather than pursue a Triple Crown and will keep the Thoroughbred out of the second race, opting to do so until to wait for the Belmont Stakes next month.

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Coach Eric Reed holds the trophy after Rich Strike won the 148th heat of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 7, 2022 in Louisville.

Coach Eric Reed holds the trophy after Rich Strike won the 148th heat of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 7, 2022 in Louisville.
(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Animal Wellness Action chief executive Marty Irby released a statement praising Dawson.

“We applaud the Rich Strike team for putting the welfare of the horse first and choosing not to compete in the 147th Preakness Stakes,” Irby said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Your decision to give him more recovery time and rest is refreshing to see and we have no doubt that Rich Strike will go down in history as one of the most celebrated American racehorses of all time.

“We were also delighted to learn that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission saw Rich Strike’s blood test results and the Kentucky Oaks winner returned clean and drug free, and it’s a tremendous step in the right direction. We hope to see a safe and drug-free Preakness in Baltimore next week.”

RICH STRIKE WILL SUIT ON PREAKNESS AFTER HISTORICAL KENTUCKY DERBY WIN

Jockey Sonny Leon reacts after Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby on May 7, 2022.

Jockey Sonny Leon reacts after Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby on May 7, 2022.
(Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

For the fourth year in a row there will be no Triple Crown winner. Justified was the last winner in 2018. Dawson said their plans are always contingent on what would happen to them at the Kentucky Derby. While the win made it more tempting to race for the Triple Crown, the team decided against it.

“Our original Rich Strike plan was dependent on the KY derby. Should we not start in the Derby we would point to the preakness, should we start in the Derby then subject to the race result and the condition of our horse we would give him more recovery time and rest and run in the Belmont or other race and stay on course, um to run with 5 or 6 weeks between races,” read Dawson’s statement.

“Obviously with our tremendous effort and our win in the Derby it’s very, very tempting to change course and run in the Preakness at Pimlico, which would be a great honor for our whole group, but after a lot of discussion and reflection with my coach , Eric Reed and a few others, we’re going to stick with our plan, what’s best for Ritchie, what’s best for our group, and skip the running at Preakness and head towards Belmont in about 5 weeks.

Rich Strike wins the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2022.

Rich Strike wins the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2022.
(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

“Thank you to the wonderful folks at Preakness & Pimlico who reached out to us and really appreciate the invitation.”

Rich Strike won the derby 80-1.

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The Preakness is scheduled for May 21st. The Belmont runs on June 11th.

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