Rich Strike, the long-shot winner of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, will skip next week’s Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. Owner Rick Dawson made the shocking announcement at a news conference on Thursday afternoon.
“Our original Rich Strike plan hinged on the Kentucky Derby, if we didn’t go to the Derby, we would point to Preakness, if we went to the Derby, depending on the outcome of the race and the condition of the horses, we would give him more time to recover and rest and be in the Belmont run, or keep running as normal for another race, with five to six weeks off between races,” Dawson said.
“Obviously, with our huge effort and victory in the derby, it was very, very tempting to change our course and run at the Preakness in Pimlico, however, after much discussion and consideration with my coach, It’s a huge honor for all of our team, Eric Reed and a few others, we’re going to stick to our plan of what’s best for Rich and what’s best for our team and move on Running in Preakness and pointing to Belmont in about five weeks.”
The horse, despite winning the Kentucky Derby, likely wasn’t a favorite for the second-round of the Triple Crown. Epicenter, which finished second in the Kentucky Derby, could be the favorite for the rest of the betting action from Wayne Lucas’ colt Secret Oath and fourth-place Derby finisher Simplification.
The last time the Kentucky Derby winner didn’t compete in the Preakness was in 2019, when Country House, who won the derby after disqualifying from Max Safety, reportedly coughed after the game. He never ran again.
Before that, you have to go back to 1996, when Grindstone missed Preakness with a broken kneecap.
Rich Strike will become the sixth winner in about six years to skip the Preakness.