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No Triple Crown winner this year; Kentucky Derby champ Rich Strike skips Preakness

By Alex Butler & Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
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No Triple Crown winner this year; Kentucky Derby champ Rich Strike skips Preakness
Rich Strike, with jockey Sonny Leon aboard, wins the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

May 12 (UPI) -- Long-shot Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will not compete in the Preakness Stakes, colt owner Rick Dawson said Thursday. Opting out of the May 21 race means no possible Triple Crown champion this year.

The move leaves Derby runner-up Epicenter as the likely favorite for the Preakness, which also could have the third- and fourth-place finishers from Louisville. as well as Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath.

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Dawson announced the decision in a statement from the Maryland Jockey Club. He said the team's original plan was to run Rich Strike in the Preakness rather than the Kentucky Derby.

Rich Strike, who went off at 80-1, was an alternate for the Derby and was elevated to the field of 20 when Ethereal Road was scratched the day before that race.

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"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," Dawson said.

"However, after much discussion and consideration with my trainer, Eric Reed, and a few others, we are going to ... pass on running in the Preakness and point toward the Belmont in approximately five weeks."

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Rich Strike overcame 80-1 odds to win the 2022 Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The colt was feisty after the victory as it repeatedly bit the lead pony on his way to the winner's circle.

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Reed said after the race that Rich Strike's chances were "real good" to win the second leg of the Triple Crown, but later admitted he needed to work with the horse before committing to the Preakness.

The 2022 Preakness Stakes is expected to start at 6:50 p.m. EDT May 21 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The race will air on NBC.

The Belmont Stakes, the final jewel of the Triple Crown, will be June 11 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

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Thirteen horses completed the Triple Crown. Justify was the most recent winner, with a June 9, 2018, victory at Pimlico.

Rich Strike wins 2022 Kentucky Derby

Rich Strike, with jockey Sonny Leon aboard, crosses the finish line to win the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2022, in Louisville, Ky. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

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