'What's Best For Ritchie': Derby Winner To Bypass Preakness, Point To Belmont Stakes - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘What’s Best For Ritchie’: Derby Winner To Bypass Preakness, Point To Belmont Stakes

Rich Strike wins the Kentucky Derby

Rick Dawson, owner of 80-1 longshot Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike, released the following statement on Thursday, May 12:

“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 run in the Belmont, or another race and stay on course to run with 5 or 6 weeks' rest between races.

“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. 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 5 weeks.

“We thank the wonderful Preakness and Pimlico folks that have reached out to us and very much appreciate the invite.

“We wish you all a great race!!!!”

The last Kentucky Derby winner to skip the Preakness Stakes was Country House in 2019; elevated to victory via the disqualification of Maximum Security, Country House never raced again after the first Saturday in May.

In 1996, Derby winner Grindstone came out of that race with a knee fracture and was retired.

Spend a Buck won the 1985 Kentucky Derby but his connections opted to skip the Preakness and seek a $2 million bonus by winning a series of races in New Jersey.

Gato Del Sol, the 1982, Derby winner, was held out of the Preakness to point for the Belmont Stakes, in which he finished second to Conquistador Cielo.

It was another 23 years before that when 1959 Derby winner Tomy Lee was rested in California, skipping the Preakness and Belmont, before returning the races later that year. He was the fifth Derby winners of the 1950s not to run in the Preakness, following Count Turf (1951), Hill Gail (1952), Determine (1954) and Swaps (1955).

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