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Rich Strike pulled off an unbelievable upset at the Kentucky Derby last weekend when the 80-1 longshot made a last-second push to beat Epicenter in the first leg of the Triple Crown.
However, the colt’s team decided to stick with what the plan was going to be all along and bypass the Preakness Stakes next weekend to prepare for the Belmont Stakes. It means for the fourth straight year there will not be a Triple Crown winner. Justified was the last won in 2018.
Rick Dawson, the owner of RED TR-Racing who owns the colt, released a statement on Thursday, saying their plans were always contingent on what was going to happen with them at the Kentucky Derby and while the win made things more tempting to race for the Triple Crown, the team decided against it.
“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 & the condition of our hose, we would give him more recovery time & rest and run in the Belmont, or another race and stay on course to run with 5 or 6 weeks rest between races,” Dawson’s statement read.
“Obviously, with our tremendous effort & win in the Derby it’s very, very tempting to alter course & run in the Preakness at Pimlico, which would be a great honor for all our group, however, after much discussion & consideration with my trainer, Eric Reed & 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.
“We thank the wonderful Preakness & Pimlico folks that have reached out to us & very much appreciate the invite.”
Rich Strike was thrust into the race at the last minute thanks to another horse getting scratched before the deadline last Friday.
Dawson and Reed appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Monday and talked about their horse’s historic win at the Kentucky Derby, revealing they thought they were going to be on the outside looking in until another horse was scratched from the race before the deadline.
“Twenty horses are allowed to race. We were No. 21 on the list. In fact, last Sunday we were 24 and moved all the way to 21 by that Friday morning 9 a.m. deadline. We actually thought we weren’t getting in,” Dawson told co-anchors Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade. “Eric started texting friends and family ‘well, were close we didn’t get in.’ I was doing the same thing.
“His phone rings, he looks at me and says ‘oh my gosh we’re in.’ And so out of the 20 texts I sent out, I had to send ‘oh sorry, update … we’re in.’ It was a rollercoaster ride but it has been now for a couple of months but wow, what a day.”
The Preakness is set for May 21. The Belmont will run on June 11.