The chase for the Triple Crown will have to wait another year.
Rich Strike, the surprise long shot winner of the Kentucky Derby, will not compete in the Preakness next weekend. Instead, the horse will next run at the Belmont Stakes in June.
The decision for trainer Eric Reed and owner Rick Dawson came down to what was best for history versus what was best for the horse. Prior to the miracle Derby finish, Rich Strike’s team had planned to compete at the Belmont and bypass the Preakness; it was only the weight of history that kept next weekend’s race at Pimlico in the horse’s future at all.
“After very careful consideration, the owner and trainer of Rich Strike felt it was not in the best interest of the horse to run in the Preakness,” a spokesperson for Reed told Sportzshala Sports in a statement. “We look forward to returning to the Belmont.”
The Belmont Stakes sets up as a better course for Rich Strike’s strengths. It’s 1/16 of a mile longer, giving the horse the opportunity to close in the way it did on Saturday at Churchill Downs. The turns at Pimlico are tighter, making for more traffic and more potential for trouble. The furious, record-setting pace that began the Kentucky Derby — which tired out the odds-on favorites — is unlikely to be repeated. And finally, in terms of the horse’s health, Rich Strike has never raced more than once in five weeks, and the Preakness would have added a race in the middle of the five weeks between the Derby and the Belmont.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Sportzshala Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at [email protected]