Horse Racing: No Triple Crown for ‘Rich Strike’

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Sophie Lawson , Staff writer

The winner of the Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike, will not be attempting horse racing’s biggest title, the Triple Crown this year. 

Owner Rich Dawson made the public announcement Rich Strike will not run in the Preakness Stakes 10 days before the race in Baltimore, Maryland. The surprising news sent shockwaves through the horse racing community leaving the trailing question behind why a thoroughbred with winning potential is passing up the opportunity to make Triple Crown history. 

The Triple Crown is comprised of three horse races, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. This title requires you to win all three races. As of 2021, 24 people, 15 women, and 9 men have achieved the Triple Crown title; it is considered the greatest accomplishment in thoroughbred racing. 

Dawson and trainer Eric Reed have decided to follow their initial racing plan for Rich Strike to compete at the Kentucky Derby and then rest him for five weeks before returning to the track at the Belmont Stakes on June 11th. 

“Obviously, with our tremendous effort and win in the Derby it’s very, very tempting to alter our course and run in the Preakness, Owner Rich Dawson said. “However, after much discussion and consideration with my trainer Eric Reed and a few others, we are going to stay with our plan.”

For a winning horse to back out of a big purse race is very uncommon, especially for a Derby winner that is not injured, but their decision to skip the Preakness Stakes is advocated to be solely strategic to prioritize the colt’s health. 

Rich Strike with 80-1 odds was the biggest long shot to win the Kentucky Derby in more than a Century showing the thoroughbred’s intense potential. In fact, Rich Strike only got into the Derby because of a last-minute scratch and he won it. 

Steve Asmussen, an American thoroughbred racehorse trainer, was training the prospective winner of the Kentucky Derby, Epicenter, and was devastated at the race’s results.

“Unbelievably disappointed. I thought it was ours this year. I really did,” said Asmussen to reporters after the race. “One day, I’ll know how happy they were, because I won’t give up.” 

The unexpected derby performance from Rick Strike is a reminder of how horse racing is capable of astonishing results and instantaneous game changes.

This Saturday, May 21st nine three-year-old thoroughbreds will be taking their post for the historical 147th running of the Preakness Stakes. Each young horse and jockey are eager to take their rightful place in the winner’s circle at Baltimore’s Pimlico Racecourse. 

When those starting steel gates swing open, 36 horseshoes will come in contact with the hard dirt track driving up and down through the soil, making them work harder to maintain their speed around the one and 3/16-mile track. 

The race itself only lasts a few minutes but it’s two minutes of pure excitement and the rush of adrenaline keeps the horse racing community active and bidders bidding.

The prospective winner of the Kentucky Derby, Epicenter, maintained the lead for all of the track until the final lengths of the race when Rich Strike made an unbelievable inside pass from the back of the pack. Watch Rich Strike’s last-minute Kentucky Derby overtake here.

The Kentucky Derby runner-up, Epicenter, will be looking to redeem himself at the upcoming Preakness Stakes. According to the Preakness Stakes odds, Epicenter is the 3-1 favorite to cross the finish line first with Secret Oath (9-2) and Early Voting (7-2) closely behind. 

Be sure to tune in to witness the all-exciting 2022 Preakness Stakes. Will Epicenter get his chance at redemption, or will another take his first place again?

 

WHERE TO WATCH: 

 

On Saturday, May 21st, coverage with begin at 2 p.m. ET on CNBC and moves over to NBC at 4 p.m. ET. The Preakness is the 13th race of the day, approximated to start at 7:01 p.m.

NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, and Peacock will have comprehensive race coverage before, during, and after.