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No Triple Crown In 2022: Long Shot Rich Strike Pulls Out Of Preakness

Longshot Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby but will miss out on the potential of winning the Triple Crown in 2022.

What Happened: Rich Strike’s owner Rick Dawson said his horse will skip the Preakness Stakes, set to be held on May 21.

“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 to run in the Belmont, or another race and stay on course to run with five or six weeks rest between races,” Dawson said.

Rich Strike held off favorites Epicenter and Zandon to win the Kentucky Derby at odds of 80-1 at Churchill Downs on May 7 to win the 2022 Kentucky Derby, which marked the second-biggest upset in the 148-year history of the race.

An alternate for the Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike only made it in the race after two of the starting horses scratched.

Epicenter, who was the favorite for the Kentucky Derby and finished in second is expected to be the favorite for the Preakness Stakes.

Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath is expected to be one of the top contenders of the Preakness as well. Given these two contenders, Rich Strike may have been the first Derby winner since 2012 to not be the post-time favorite for the follow-up Preakness race.

This also marks the second time in four years that the Kentucky Derby winner did not participate in the Preakness Stakes.

The Preakness Stakes will air on May 21 on NBC, a unit of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA). The third leg of the Triple Crown happens on June 11 with the Belmont Stakes also airing on NBC.

Related Link: Can A Huge Kentucky Derby Upset Bring Viewers, Fans Back To Horse Racing After Year Of Scandal 

Why It’s Important: The decision by Rich Strike to skip the Preakness Stakes due to rest could point to a bigger problem for horse racing with the three Triple Crown races being too close together with two weeks between the first two legs and three weeks between the last two legs.

Animal Wellness Action applauded the decision by Rich Strike’s team.

“We applaud the Rich Strike team for putting the welfare of the horse first and choosing not to run in the 147th Preakness Stakes. Their decision to ‘give him more recovery time and rest’ is refreshing to see, and we have no doubt that Rich Strike will go down in the history books as one of the most famous American racehorses of all time,” Animal Wellness Action Executive Director Matt Irby said.

Irby also expressed joy that blood tests from Rich Strike came back clean after winning the Kentucky Derby, taking an important step after a year of setbacks in 2021.

The lack of a potential 2022 Triple Crown winner could be a negative for Churchill Downs, Inc (NASDAQ: CHDN), which along with owning the namesake racetrack also owns horseracing betting platform Twinspires.

Wagering on the 2022 Kentucky Derby Day program hit an all-time record high of $273.8 million, up 9% from the previous record set in 2019. Wagering on the Kentucky Derby race hit a record $179.0 million, up 8% from the previous 2019 record and up 15% from 2021.

TwinSpires saw $67.4 million in wagers on Kentucky Derby Day May 7. Without Rich Strike in Preakness, the betting handle could be down on May 21. Of course, with an 80-1 winner in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness could see new bettors turning in to bet longshots.

Photo: Rich Strike wins the Kentucky Derby, photo via NBC YouTube screenshot

© 2022 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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