(AP)– Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will not run in the Preakness.
Owner Rich Dawson made the stunning announcement Thursday, 10 days before the race in Maryland. It means there will not be a Triple Crown winner for a fourth consecutive year.
Dawson said he and trainer Eric Reed agreed to stick with the initial plan for Rich Strike and rest him for five weeks. Rich Strike, at 80-1, was the biggest long shot to win the Derby in more than a century. Only Donerail in 1913 paid more to win.
The plan now is to have Rich Strike ready to run in the Belmont Stakes on June 11. Dawson said it was best for the colt to get extra rest and not run back in two weeks at Pimlico.
Rich Strike was not expected to be the morning line favorite for the Preakness, with Derby runner-up Epicenter and Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath set to be part of the field. With Rich Strike’s surprise withdrawal, the Derby champion has not run in the Preakness in 2019 or 2021. The races we’re run out of order in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Rich Strike’s rider Sonny Leon was suspended by Ohio racing officials for four days for careless riding on April 27 at Thistledown Racecourse. On Wednesday, his agent said it would not prevent him from riding at Preakness.