'He Absolutely Loves It Here': Rich Strike Gallops At Churchill, Still On Target For Belmont - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘He Absolutely Loves It Here’: Rich Strike Gallops At Churchill, Still On Target For Belmont

Rich Strike at Churchill Downs on April 27, 2022

RED TR-Racing's Kentucky Derby (Grade I) winner Rich Strike arrived at Churchill Downs on Wednesday from his home base of Mercury Equine Center in Lexington, Ky. to begin his preparation for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI) on June 11.

Rich Strike, who shocked the racing world at odds of 80-1 with his victory in the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve, spent 10 days at Mercury Equine Center before his return to Churchill Downs. Rich Strike galloped at 5:45 a.m. Thursday and is scheduled to breeze Saturday at 7:30 a.m.

“When he got off the van you could see his chest puff up,” trainer Eric Reed said. “He absolutely loves it here. I think he knows when he's here he has a job to do.”

The Belmont Stakes is the third jewel of racing's Triple Crown. Reed decided to skip the second jewel, Saturday's $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (GI).

“I just kept going back to how he wouldn't be mentally ready to run in two weeks,” Reed said. “Our original plan if we didn't get in the Derby was to run in the Belmont. So, we're sticking with that plan.”

Rich Strike is scheduled to gallop at 5:45 a.m. Friday.

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