Kentucky Derby Winner Rich Strike to Skip Preakness Stakes

Rich Strike is bypassing the middle leg of the Triple Crown. (Coady Photography)

Rich Strike, upset winner of the 148th Kentucky Derby (G1), will bypass the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course on May 21 and point for the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 11, owner Rick Dawson announced in a statement on May 12.

“Our original plan for Rich Strike was contingent on the Kentucky 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,” Dawson said in the statement.

“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, 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 last reigning Kentucky Derby winner to not run in the middle leg of the Triple Crown was Country House in 2019. Mandaloun, who was awarded the 2021 Kentucky Derby win when Kentucky state stewards ruled this February to disqualify first-place finisher Medina Spirit due to a medication positive, also did not compete in the Preakness Stakes.

Rich Strike stunned the racing community on the first Saturday in May when the son of Keen Ice surged up the rail in late stretch to catch favorite Epicenter and prevail by three-quarters of length at odds of 80-1. The chestnut colt only got into the Kentucky Derby field off the also-eligible list the day before when trainer D. Wayne Lukas announced the morning of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) he was scratching Ethereal Road.

The Kentucky Derby marked just the second career win for Rich Strike in eight career starts. His only other triumph also came at Churchill Downs when he broke his maiden by 17 ¼-lengths at second asking beneath the Twin Spires last Sept. 17