As the horse racing faithful are, no doubt, already aware, Kentucky Derby Winner RICH STRIKE will bypass the May 21st Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in favor of a run in the June 11th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, announced owner Rick Dawson on Friday.
“Our original plan for RICH STRIKE was contingent on the Kentucky Derby,” Dawson said in a release. “Should we not run in the Derby, we would point toward the Preakness; should we run in the Derby, subject to the race outcome and the condition of our horse, we would give him more recovery time and rest and run in the Belmont or another race and stay on course to run with five or six weeks’ rest between races.
“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, however, after much discussion and consideration with my trainer Eric Reed and a few others, we are going to stay with our plan of what’s best for ‘RITCHIE‘ and what’s best for our group, and pass on running in the Preakness, and point toward the Belmont in approximately five weeks.
“We thank the wonderful Preakness and Pimlico folks (said no one, ever about the Stronach Group that runs Pimlico) that have reached out to us and very much appreciate the invite.”
With the formal removal of RICH STRIKE, Derby runner-up EPICENTER is expected to run in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Kentucky Oaks Winner SECRET OATH, Derby 4th-place finisher SIMPLIFICATION, and Wood Memorial runner-up EARLY VOTING are some of the other leading contenders.
So the Triple Crown lock-of-the-year in 2022 is that there will be no Triple Crown Winner.
RICH STRIKE shocks the Thoroughbred racing world by Winning the Kentucky Derby at odds of 80-1.
Then the horses’ connections pull off another grand surprise by opting out on a chance at Winning the Triple Crown and racing immortality, for the sake of the safety and training schedule of RICH STRIKE.
Huh, who knew?