Rich Strike Will Bypass Preakness Stakes, Will Train Instead for Belmont

Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will not pursue a Triple Crown. Owner Rick Dawson said in a statement published by the Maryland Jockey Club Thursday that his 3-year-old colt will bypass the Preakness Stakes at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course on May 21.

Rich Strike
Rich Strike
Rich Strike, seen here pulling away to a shocking Kentucky Derby win last Saturday, will not race in the May 21 Preakness Stakes, owner Rick Dawson said in a statement Thursday. (Image: Kentucky Derby/Twitter)

Instead, the connections plan to train for next month’s Belmont Stakes.

In the statement, Dawson said their plan for the horse was contingent on getting in the Derby. The colt was an also-eligible and got into the race last Friday just moments before the deadline, as trainer D. Wayne Lukas scratched his entry, Ethereal Road. Rich Strike then entered the race and shocked the world as an 80-1 longshot. His win was just the second for a horse that broke from the 20th gate, and produced the second-largest payout in the 148 runnings of the event.

After the monumental win, Dawson pointed to the role regime trainer Eric Reed held in prepping Rich Strike for the Derby. That included a schedule where he did not race more than five weeks apart, which is the time between the Kentucky Derby and Belmont.

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,” Dawson said. “However, after much discussion & consideration with my trainer, Eric Reed & a few others, we are going to stay with our plan of what’s best for Ritchie is what’s best for our group.”

Epicenter, the posttime Derby favorite Rich Strike chased down in the final strides, is expected to run in the Preakness. So, too, is Kentucky Oaks-winning filly Secret Oath, also trained by Lukas.

This story will be updated.

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