On Saturday, early voting gave Ground Zero another Triple Crown woe, holding up a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby to win the $1.65 million Preakness Stakes.
Well rested after being away from the Kentucky Derby, an early vote confirmed the decision of coach Chad Brown and owner Seth Klarman to miss out on the first Triple Crown jewel of American flat racing.
“They had enough points to compete in the Derby and they got through,” said jockey Joel Ortiz. “It’s hard to get an owner to go through the Derby and they made the right choice.
“I didn’t think he was experienced enough to run in a field of 20 horses and today they proved they were right.”
On a sweltering evening in Baltimore, with temperatures reaching 94 F (34 C), Early Voting deftly pulled out of the fifth post, then stalled as Armagnac took the lead with Epicenter and imaginary filly Secret Oath took last place on the list. horse field.
Ortiz pulled ahead in an early vote and fended off a challenge from Ground Zero, who was 1 1/2 lengths behind.
The Creative Minister was third and Secret Oath, coached by six-time Preakness winner D. Wayne Lucas, was fourth.
“Honestly, I never worried,” said Brown, who saddled the 2017 Preakness Cloud Computing winner for Klarman.
“I thought we would need a good horse from behind to beat us. And a good horse really ran into us near the wire, and it was the only horse that could run into us.
But it was the second disappointment in a row for Epicenter and coach Steve Asmussen – although perhaps not as bitter as the Kentucky Derby’s 80-1 long-range loss at the net in the Kentucky Derby. won in 1913.
Sent off as a 7-5 favorite under jockey Joel Rosario, Epicenter made a strong late move, but it just wasn’t enough to overtake early voting.
Asmussen hoped that Epicenter could repeat the 2007 season of his Preakness winner Curlin, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby but returned to win at Pimlico en route to an outstanding campaign that included winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
No one on the field had a Rich Strike to contend with after the unexpected Kentucky Derby winner’s ties dropped the Preakness to rest him for the Belmont Stakes.
Klarman did not immediately begin early voting at the third Triple Crown race in New York the following month. Noting that the colt “got better with every race”, he said he was not yet sure he could complete the 1 1/2 mile Belmont course.
Rich Strike’s absence from the Preakness meant there would be no Triple Crown winner for the fourth year in a row. Only 13 horses completed the coveted treble.