Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will not run in the Preakness and will instead straight to the Belmont Stakes, owner Rick Dawson has announced.
The Eric Reed-trained colt produced a huge 80-1 upset win at Churchill Downs on Saturday, powering up the rail under an inspired Sonny Leon ride to beat race favourite Epicenter and the well-fancied Zandon.
In a statement issued through the Maryland Jockey Club, Dawson said: “Our original plan for Rich Strike was contingent on the KY Derby, should we not run in the Derby we would point toward the Preakness, should we run in the Derby, subject to the race outcome and the condition of our horse, we would give him more recovery time and rest and run in the Belmont, or another race and stay on course to run with five or six weeks rest between races.
“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 honour for all our group. 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 (Rich Strike) is what’s best for our group, and pass on running in the Preakness, and point toward the Belmont in approximately five weeks.
“We thank the wonderful Preakness and Pimlico folks that have reached out to us and very much appreciate the invite.
“We wish you all a great race!!!!”