The field for the 2022 Preakness Stakes is set, and it will not include Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike.
The horse that pulled off an 80-1 shocker at Churchill Downs will bypass the Preakness to prepare for the Belmont Stakes. As a result, horse racing will need to wait at least one more year for a chance at a 14th Triple Crown winner.
While uncommon, this scenario isn’t unprecedented. Spend a Buck won the 1985 Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness and Belmont to win the Jersey Derby (and a $2 million bonus). Hall of Famer Swaps went back to California after his Derby score in 1955, which left that year’s Preakness and Belmont to rival Nashua.
Rich Strike’s defection, however, doesn’t mean the Preakness will be light on talent. It will feature several familiar faces, as well as a filly going up against the boys.
Several Derby runners back for more
If you bet another horse in the Derby and still like them, you may get a chance to win your money back. Runner-up Epicenter and fourth-place finisher Simplification are back for the Preakness.
Epicenter was favored in the Derby and led as the field turned for home. He’ll likely be the public choice once again, especially without Rich Strike in the field.
Simplification, meanwhile, was fourth in the Derby. He hasn’t run a poor race this season, and his most notable effort came when he captured the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The Blue Grass winner will be joined by fellow Chad Brown trainee Early Voting, who ran second in the Wood Memorial and bypassed the Derby to train up for the Preakness. Meanwhile, Derby third-place finisher Zandon was ruled out of the Preakness on Saturday.
Can the filly beat the boys?
Secret Oath was in action the day before the Kentucky Derby. She faced the best 3-year-old fillies in the country in the Kentucky Oaks and cruised home to a convincing win.
Days after the race, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas confirmed what many racing fans suspected: Secret Oath will run in the Preakness. Lukas has won the Preakness six times, most recently with Oxbow in 2013.
Another victory would tie the record for the most Preakness wins by a trainer in the race’s history. Two other horsemen, including Bob Baffert, have trained seven Preakness winners.
Secret Oath has faced males before. She contested the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park earlier this year. After a troubled trip, she ran third behind Kentucky Derby runners Cyberknife and Barber Road.
The starting gate
The Preakness post-position draw was conducted on Monday afternoon, and to no one’s surprise, Epicenter was labeled the morning-line favorite with 6-5 odds to win. Early Voting boasts the second-best odds at 7-2, while Secret Oath sits at 9-2.
Here’s how the starting gate will look with all the positions set:
- No. 1 — Simplification (6-1)
- No. 2 — Creative Minister (10-1)
- No. 3 — Fenwick (50-1)
- No. 4 — Secret Oath (9-2)
- No. 5 — Early Voting (7-2)
- No. 6 — Happy Jack (30-1)
- No. 7 — Armagnac (12-1)
- No. 8 — Epicenter (6-5)
- No. 9 — Skippylongstocking (20-1)
How can I watch the Preakness?
If you’re near Pimlico, you can make the trip to Old Hilltop. The Preakness caps off a full day of events that includes multiple graded stakes races, as well as the annual Infieldfest concert.
If you want to stay home and avoid the crowd, you can watch and wager in many different ways. NBC will air a nationwide broadcast of the Preakness, and TVG will have full-card advance deposit wagering available.