Historic Kentucky Derby champ Rich Strike will sit out Preakness, aim for Belmont

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Rich Strike, the 80-1 longshot that shocked the 2022 Kentucky Derby, won’t be seeking a Triple Crown title after owner Rick Dawson announced that the colt will skip the 147th Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 21 and point towards the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 11.

“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 stay with our plan of what’s best for ‘Ritchie’ is what’s best for our group, and pass on running in the Preakness, and point toward the Belmont in approximately five weeks.”

The grandson of 2007 Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin began last week as the second alternate entry into the Derby before claiming a spot in the Run for the Roses when Ethereal Road scratched the morning before. He was fresh off a five-race losing streak, but that didn’t stop him from booking it down the homestretch and weaving between horses to cross the wire first at Churchill Downs.

A true rags to riches story, the $30,000 claimer is trained by Eric Reed, who had never won a Grade 1 race until then, and ridden by Sonny Leon, who had ridden in six races the day before at Belterra Park in Cincinnati.

Rich Strike is the longest shot to win the Kentucky Derby in over a century. Back in 1913, Donerail set off at 91-1 odds before claiming the biggest upset win in Derby history. More recently, Country House took a 65-1 win in the 2019 Kentucky Derby after Maximum Security was disqualified.

Epicenter, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, and Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath are both confirmed for the 2022 Preakness. The field will come into full focus during Monday’s draw.

The American Triple Crown consists of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May; the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course two weeks later; and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park three weeks after that. The last Triple Crown winner was Justify in 2018.

Watch the Preakness on Saturday, May 21 from 2 to 4 p.m. ET on CNBC and from 4 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock