There shall be no Triple Crown champion this yr after the proprietor of the Kentucky Derby winner Wealthy Strike introduced Thursday that his colt would skip the Preakness Stakes and run as a substitute within the Belmont Stakes.
The proprietor, Rick Dawson, stated that his horse had come out of the Derby in high-quality form however that he and the coach, Eric Reed, had determined to not push Wealthy Strike into the second leg of the Triple Crown in Baltimore subsequent Saturday after solely two weeks of relaxation, particularly after successful America’s most well-known horse race (and a legion of followers) as an 80-1 shot.
The colt didn’t even draw into the Derby area till the day earlier than the race, when Ethereal Highway scratched.
“Our unique plan for Wealthy Strike was contingent on the Kentucky Derby. Ought to we not run within the Derby we’d level towards the Preakness,” Dawson stated in an announcement. “Ought to we run within the Derby, topic to the race consequence and the situation of our horse, we’d give him extra restoration time.”
Dawson stated one potential plan was to run the horse, nicknamed Ritchie, within the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 11, however in any occasion to provide him 5 to 6 weeks between races.
“Clearly, with our great effort and win within the Derby, it is very, very tempting to change our course and run within the Preakness at Pimlico, which might be a terrific honor for all our group,” Dawson continued. “Nevertheless, after a lot dialogue and consideration with my coach, Eric Reed, and some others, we’re going to stick with our plan of what is finest for Ritchie is what’s finest for our group, and go on operating within the Preakness, and level towards the Belmont in roughly 5 weeks.”
In an announcement, Reed stated of the horse: “What issues most is what’s finest for him. We hate the choice we needed to make however it was the precise one.”
However Dawson and Reed had cautioned that sending Wealthy Strike to Baltimore was no certain factor. At Churchill Downs, the house of the Derby in Louisville, Ky., the colt was on a racetrack the place he had gained earlier than (by 17 lengths). The observe is conducive to Wealthy Strike’s late-closing fashion.
The Preakness is one-sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Derby, and the configuration of Pimlico Race Course options tighter turns and calls for extra agility.
There additionally figures to be far fewer horses than the 20 that confirmed up in Louisville and none is more likely to set the identical blistering early tempo that complemented Wealthy Strike’s late flip of foot. Within the Derby, the colt caught Epicenter and Zandon, who have been tiring after monitoring the early leaders.
The defection of Wealthy Strike means Epicenter, who completed second within the Derby and is dedicated to the Preakness, is now the doubtless favourite to win the second jewel within the Triple Crown.
The mile and a half Belmont Stakes, with its large sweeping turns, ought to assist Wealthy Strike flip in his finest effort, particularly after 5 weeks’ relaxation.
Or at the very least that’s what Dawson and Reed are betting.
They proved canny once they set their sights on getting Wealthy Strike into the Derby, as did bettors who believed within the colt. Wealthy Strike paid $163.60 on a $2 wager to win. Solely Donerail in 1913 had a better payout, at $184.90.
Nonetheless, it’s at all times disappointing for horse racing fans when a Triple Crown bid isn’t on the desk. And Wealthy Strike had a very compelling again story that touched even those that usually are not horse racing followers.
He was bought in a claiming race for $30,000. The colt is the one horse Dawson has in coaching. Wealthy Strike’s rider, Sonny Leon, a 32-year-old from Venezuela, additionally has a working-class pedigree. He was the Eleventh-ranked rider within the nation final yr, however piled up these victories largely at backwater tracks in Ohio. He had by no means gained a graded stakes race earlier than the Derby, and Dawson, Reed and Leon have been all making their Derby debuts.
In 2019, Nation Home turned the primary Kentucky Derby winner to skip the second leg of the Triple Crown since Grindstone in 1996. Nation Home had completed second within the Derby however was elevated to first after racing officers disqualified Most Safety, who crossed the road first , for interfering with a number of horses.
Invoice Mott, who educated Nation Home, stated the colt had developed a cough. The Derby turned out to be the colt’s final race. He now stands as a stallion in Kentucky.