There will not be a Triple Crown chase this spring.
Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike is not being entered to run in the Preakness on May 21 in Baltimore, owner Rick Dawson announced Thursday. He said the horse will focus on running in the Belmont Stakes on June 11.
“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,” Dawson said in a statement. “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.”
Rich Strike won the Derby last weekend despite 80-1 odds. The upset was the second largest in the race’s history.
The news of Rich Strike not entering the Preakness comes one day after it was announced that his jockey, Sonny Leon, was serving a suspension for careless riding from an Ohio race that took place before the Kentucky Derby.
The four-day suspension, which his agent told The Associated Press won’t impact his ability to ride in next week’s Preakness, was recently handed down by stewards at Ohio’s Thistledown Racecourse. They allege that Leon, 32, “deliberately and aggressively” steered his horse, One Glamorous Gal, to block other horses on the final stretch of a race on April 27.
The Venezuelan jockey, according to the Courier Journal, has now been suspended five times for a total of 32 days since September. Three of the penalties have been for careless riding.