There will be no Triple Crown winner in 2022. Kentucky Derby long shot winner Rich Strike will bypass the Preakness Stakes on May 21 and prepare for the Belmont Stakes on June 11, his owner, Rich Dawson of RED TR-Racing, announced in a statement Thursday.
“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,” the statement said.
Skipping Preakness and looking ahead to Belmont Stakes
The full statement from owner Rick Dawson explained further the team’s plans for the historic 80-1 long shot winner of the Kentucky Derby.
“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.”
You could argue that the team is doing what’s best for the horse but not for horse racing. Fans always want to see the Kentucky Derby winner run in the Preakness and have a shot at completing the Triple Crown, which Justify did in 2018 and American Pharoah in 2015. In 2019, controversial Kentucky Derby 65-1 long shot winner Country House skipped the Preakness. You have to go back more than 20 years to find a previous Kentucky Derby winner (Grindstone, 1996) who skipped the Preakness.
The past two Derby winners — Medina Spirit and Authentic — ran in the Preakness and skipped the Belmont Stakes.
Rich Strike will run next in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes on June 11 at Belmont Park.
Betting handle for Preakness Stakes
The 2022 Kentucky Derby set a record for handle in the Triple Crown race, with $179 million wagered in the pari-mutuel pool on the May 7 race. That was a 17% increase over the track’s 2021 returns. A record $273.8 million was bet on the Derby Day program overall.
With Rich Strike skipping the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown will take a hit in the handle. Fewer fans are likely to tune in to watch the Preakness, and those wagering will turn their attention to the second-place Derby favorite, Epicenter. Simplification is another Derby runner looking likely to run on May 21. Third-place Derby finisher Zandon is still a possibility, with at least seven “new shooters” joining the Preakness field.
Also, Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath will challenge the boys and run in the Preakness, legendary trainer D. Wayne Lucas announced on May 11. Secret Oath finished third in the Arkansas Derby with a wide trip when taking on the colts in April at Oaklawn Park. She then went on to win the Kentucky Oaks at 4-1 odds.
Total betting on last year’s 2021 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore was a record $68.69 million. That was up 8.6% over the record set in 2005 for the same race and up 10.7% over the total amount bet the last time it was held on its traditional date, in 2019.
Find more horse racing news and Preakness updates at Playfecta as the Triple Crown continues.