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Kentucky Derby Winner Makes Preakness Stakes Decision

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 07: Jockey Sonny Leon reacts as Rich Strike wins the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 07, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 07: Jockey Sonny Leon reacts as Rich Strike wins the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 07, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Five days ago Rich Strike shocked the world, going from a last-minute entrant in the Kentucky Derby to win the Run for the Roses as an 80-1 longshot. With the option to make a Triple Crown run and compete in the Preakness Stakes next weekend, his team has made a big decision. 

On Thursday, Rich Strike's owner Rick Dawson announced that the horse will not race in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico next Saturday. In a statement, Dawson said that on the advisement of trainer Eric Reed, they will skip the Preakness and aim for the Belmont Stakes in June.

“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, via the New York Post.

“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 5 weeks.”

Rich Strike was an also-eligible for the Kentucky Derby after failing to crack the initial 20-horse field. But a scratch on Friday allowed the horse to enter the field at the last minute.

With Rich Strike skipping the Preakness Stakes, there will be no Triple Crown winner this year. There have been only two Triple Crown winners in the last 40 years.

But if the horse is well-rested enough, he could still achieve the rare feat of winning two jewels of the Triple Crown in a season. The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont in the same season was Justify, who won the Triple Crown in 2016. 

Thunder Gulch is the last horse to have won the Derby and Belmont without winning the Preakness.

Will Rich Strike win the Belmont Stakes?