Rich Strike won’t be running in Preakness after his big stunner to win the Kentucky Derby, preventing horseracing from winning the Triple Crown for the fourth year in a row.
Owner Rich Dawson made the stunning announcement Thursday, 10 days before the race in Maryland.
Dawson said he and his coach Eric Reed agreed to stick to Rich Strike’s initial plan and rest him for five weeks. Rich Strike, 80-1, was the longest-running chance to win the derby in over a century. Only Donerail in 1913 paid more to win.
The plan now is to get Rich Strike ready to run at the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 11. Dawson said it would be wise for the colt to get extra rest and not face a short two-week shift at Pimlico.
“It’s very tempting to change our course and run the Preakness at Pimlico, which would be a huge honor for all of our group,” Dawson said in a press release. “However, after much discussion and thought, we will stick to our plan for what is best for Ritchie.
“We thank the wonderful members of Preakness and Pimlico who reached out to them and greatly appreciate the invitation.”
Watch | Rich Strike shines in Kentucky Derby win
Reed did not immediately respond to a letter from the Associated Press seeking comment.
Rich Strike wasn’t expected to be a favorite on the morning streak for the Preakness Championship, as runner-up in the Epicenter Derby and winner of the Kentucky Oaks Secret Oath are scheduled to be part of the field. He could have been the first derby winner not to launch as a Preakness favorite later on since 2012 when I would another win my first two Triple Crown matches.
With the sudden withdrawal of Rich Strike, Preakness will go without an official derby champion for the second time in four years. Country House and disqualified winner Maximum Security skipped the race in 2019.
Medina Spirit trained by Bob Baffert finished third in the 2021 Preakness after testing positive after my derby for a disallowed substance on race day. Mandaloun, who climbed into the 2021 derby long after a positive Medina Spirit test result, did not run in the Preakness race last year.
Adding to the impressive anecdote, Rich Strike has won only once before and $30,000-pence-pennies have been claimed in the race and unlikely for a caliber Derby horse.
Neither Reed nor the Maryland Jockey Club immediately responded to messages from the Associated Press seeking comment.
With Rich Strike referring to Belmont, Preakness appears to be a wide open race among the horses that have returned from the Derby, likely to include Zandon and fourth place Simplification. Coach Chad Brown, who mocks Zandon, is also expected to take part in the early polls.
Horse racing has had two recent Triple Crown winners: American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018. Both have been trained by Baffert, who is currently serving a suspension in Kentucky for drug violations observed in Maryland and elsewhere. Baffert transferred Taiba and Messier derby horses to former assistant Tim Yektin.
Neither of them is expected to work at Preakness.
Baffert’s longtime friend D.