Rich Strike, the longshot winner of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, will skip next week’s Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. The shocking announcement came Thursday afternoon in a news release from owner Rick Dawson.
“Our original plan for Rich Strike was contingent on the Kentucky Derby, 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 in five or six weeks rest between races,” Dawson said.
“Obviously, with our tremendous effort and win in the Derby it’s very, very tempting to alter our course & 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 is what’s best for our group, and pass on running in the Preakness, and point toward the Belmont in approximately five weeks.”
The horse, despite winning the Kentucky Derby, was likely not the favorite for the second leg of the Triple Crown. Epicenter, second in the Kentucky Derby, was the likely favorite with other betting action on Wayne Lukas’ filly Secret Oath and fourth-place Derby finisher Simplification.
The last time a Kentucky Derby winner did not run in the Preakness was in 2019 when Country House, who was given the Derby win after the disqualification of Maximum Security, was said to have a cough after the race. He never ran again.
Prior to that you have to go back to 1996 when Grindstone missed the Preakness with a bone chip in his knee.
Rich Strike will be the sixth winner in about six decades to skip the Preakness.