Epicenter is 6-5 favorite for Preakness without Rich Strike

May 16, 2022, 2:25 AM | Updated: 7:32 pm
Epicenter is bathed after his timed workout at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on Sunday, May 1...

Epicenter is bathed after his timed workout at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Hall of Famer trainer Steve Asmussen is poised to finally add the Kentucky Derby to his resume with contender Epicenter as the highlight of a career that has also involved accusations of animal abuse. (Grace Ramey/Daily News via AP)

(Grace Ramey/Daily News via AP)

BALTIMORE (AP) — Kentucky Derby runner-up Epicenter was set Monday as the 6-5 morning line favorite for the Preakness Stakes, which will be run without Rich Strike.

The surprise Derby winner at 80-1 is not in the field of nine for Saturday’s $1.65 million race. Rich Strike’s owner felt the two-week turnaround did not give the colt enough rest and plans to enter him in the Belmont.

Kicking off the Preakness draw at a Baltimore-area restaurant, emcee Britney Eurton talked about Rich Strike pulling off “one of the greatest upsets in sports history. Though we might not have the Kentucky Derby winner, there is no shortage of talented runners,” she said.

Rich Strike’s absence clouds the second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown and makes this the second Preakness in four years without the Derby winner.

Last year, Medina Spirit ran and finished third at Pimlico after testing positive at Churchill Downs for a substance that was not allowed on race day and was eventually disqualified. In 2020, the the races were run out of order because of the pandemic. And in 2019, neither DQ’ed Derby champion Maximum Security nor elevated winner Country House went to the Preakness.

This time, Steve Asmussen-trained Epicenter, who drew the No. 8 post, fourth-place finisher Simplification and 14th-place finisher Happy Jack are the only horses back for the Preakness from the Derby, which Rich Strike won with a furious charge down the stretch.

No. 6 Happy Jack, trained by 2012 Derby and Preakness winner Doug O’Neill, is 30-1. Simplification is 6-1 and drew the rail spot with the No. 1 post position and jockey John Velazquez set to ride.

“At first I thought, not good, but Johnny V is so smart,” trainer Antonio Sano said. “He’ll make the decision if he wants to take the option outside.”

Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath is the third betting choice on the morning line at 9-2 after Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas opted to enter the filly in the Preakness. She drew post position No. 4.

Early Voting is the 7-2 second choice after skipping the Derby. Trainer Chad Brown targeted the Preakness for Early Voting, who drew the No. 5 post position.

While Taiba and Messier aren’t in the Preakness, there is a Bob Baffert presence in Armagnac, a late entry whom the two-time Triple Crown winning trainer transferred to Tim Yakteen. Baffert is serving a suspension in Kentucky for medication violations and would not have been allowed to saddle any horses in the Preakness. No. 7 Armagnac is 12-1.

Added to the field at the extra cost of $150,000, No. 2 Creative Minister is 10-1. No. 9 Skippylongstocking is 20-1, and longshot No. 3 Fenwick is 50-1.

“I think there’s three or four horses to outrun in here, personally, and I’m way behind them,” Fenwick trainer Kevin McKathan said. “Steve’s horse (Epicenter) is obviously the bullet going in. Tami Bobo’s horse, Simplification, runs hard every time and then Wayne’s filly, she’s special, so you have to outrun her. And the rest of them, they’re there and we’ve got to put up with them.”

Beyond Rich Strike, a handful of other horses expected to run in the Preakness were removed from the field before the draw.

Un Ojo, the one-eyed gelding whose bruised foot kept him out of the Derby, was taken out of consideration Monday after the injury flared up. Trainer Ricky Courville reported veterinarians looked Un Ojo over and said, “He’s not 100 percent.”

Brown’s Zandon was also a possibility for the Preakness but now may also skip the June 11 Belmont with eyes on the Travers Stakes this summer at Saratoga.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bump & Stacy Show

AP

Associated Press

Sydney McLaughlin does it again, breaks own world record

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin bested her own world record in the 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. outdoor track and field championships Saturday. McLaughlin flashed a broad smile when her time was announced, then gave a thumbs-up. She crossed the finish line in 51.41 seconds, breaking her own record of 51.46 set […]
16 hours ago
St. Louis Cardinals' Ivan Herrera watches his sacrifice fly to score Edmundo Sosa during the eighth...
Associated Press

Herrera’s 8th inning sac fly helps Cardinals beat Cubs 5-3

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Iván Herrera hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning for his first career RBI and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 5-3 Saturday. Juan Yepez lined a one-out double to the left field wall off Cubs reliever Mark Leiter Jr. (1-2) in the eighth, and pinch-runner Edmundo […]
16 hours ago
In Gee Chun, of South Korea, left, looks for her ball in the rough on the 16th hole during the thir...
Associated Press

Chun shoots 75, lead down to 3 at Women’s PGA Championship

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — In Gee Chun shot a 3-over 75 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the Women’s PGA Championship. On a day when Congressional Country Club gave the leaders plenty of trouble, Chun was holding her own until she made a double bogey on the par-5 16th […]
16 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays' Isaac Paredes celebrates after hitting a two-run winning single to defeat the Pitts...
Associated Press

Paredes hits 2-run single as Rays rally past Pirates 6-5

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Isaac Paredes hit a solo homer in the eighth inning and a two-run single with two outs in the ninth, sending the Tampa Bay Rays to a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday. Ji-Man Choi and Vidal Bruján reached on two-out walks before Jonathan Aranda’s pinch-hit single loaded the […]
16 hours ago
Justin Ress of the United States listens to his national anthem after winning the men's 50m backstr...
Associated Press

US swimmer Ress endures elation, shock, relief at worlds

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Elation, devastation, relief and shock. United States swimmer Justin Ress went through all the emotions after winning his first individual gold medal on the last day of racing at the world swimming championships on Saturday. As quick as he won the men’s 50-meter backstroke final — 24.12 seconds — it seemed […]
16 hours ago
New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) pauses before pitching against the Houston Astro...
Associated Press

Astros’ Javier, bullpen combine to no-hit Yanks in 3-0 win

NEW YORK (AP) — Cristian Javier, Héctor Neris and Ryan Pressly combined on the first no-hitter against the New York Yankees in 19 years, shutting down the best team in baseball and pitching the Houston Astros to a 3-0 victory on Saturday. Javier (5-3), a 25-year-old right-hander without a complete game in 84 professional starts, […]
16 hours ago
Epicenter is 6-5 favorite for Preakness without Rich Strike