Kentucky Derby Winner Rich Strike Skipping Preakness, Ending Chance of Triple Crown Bid

Kentucky Derby Winner Rich Strike Skipping Preakness, Ending Chance of Triple Crown Bid article feature image

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike, with jockey Sonny Leon in the irons, at Churchill Downs.

Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike, who became the second-biggest longshot to win the race in its 148-year history, will skip the Preakness Stakes on May 21, owner Rick Dawson announced Thursday via press release.

That means there is no chance of the sport having its first Triple Crown winner since Justify pulled off the feat in the 2018 racing season.

BREAKING NEWS: Kentucky Derby winner RICH STRIKE will not compete in the G1 Preakness Stakes @PimlicoRC & will instead point towards the G1 Belmont Stakes on June 11.

Hear the full statement from Rich Strike's Owner Rick Dawson on their decision.

— TVG (@TVG) May 12, 2022

Piloted by unheralded jockey Sonny Leon, the 3-year-old son by Keen Ice defeated 19 others last Saturday to win the Derby. Rich Strike, who was on the Also Eligible list for the race, made the field just a day before the annual "Run for the Roses" when Ethereal Road was scratched.

Going off at 80-1 odds at post time, Rich Strike became the second-longest shot to win the race in its storied history. Donerail won the first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown at +9145 odds (91.45-1) in the 1913 edition.

More recently, Mine That Bird took down the 2009 Derby at 50-1 odds, with a rail-skimming ride from jockey Calvin Borel. In 2005, longshot Giacomo (50-1) triumphed to finish just ahead of 70-1 longshot Closing Argument.

Despite the defection of Rich Strike, the three horses who finished behind the Derby winner are projected to run in the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Derby runner-up and Twinspires Louisiana Derby winner Epicenter is headed to Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, along with third-place finisher/Blue Grass Stakes winner No. 10 Zandon. Epicenter is the early Preakness betting favorite in the futures market.

Simplification, who finished fourth and ran his Derby prep races out of Florida, is also slated to run in the Preakness.

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