For all the shockwaves produced by an 80-1 Kentucky Derby winner presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) followed by the Triple Crown becoming a moot point less than a week later, the May 21 Preakness Stakes (G1) managed to retain some drama.
Even with the winner of Run for the Roses Rich Strike pass the $1.5 million Preakness in favor of the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G1), the presence of the winner of Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) secret oath among a group of nine 3-year-olds created the potential for a heated battle of the aging sexes Pimlico Racecourse.
Filly Secret Oath, Kentucky Derby runner-up Epicenter and intriguing “new shooter” Early voting were the center of attention in the May 16 draw for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown and the stars of the morning line.
Epicenter Winchell Thoroughbreds was named as the morning line pick at 6-5 and clinched pole 8 with Withers Stakes winner (G3) Early Voting drawing pole 5 (odds 7-2) and Secret Oath getting post 4 (9-2).
The rest of the land, from the rail, includes: Simplification (post 1, 6-1), Minister of Creation (2, 10-1), Fenwick (3, 50-1), Merry Jack (6, 20-1), Armagnac (7, 12-1), Skippy Longstocking (9, 20-1).
Epicenter was the 4-1 favorite in the May 7 Kentucky derby and, despite moving to a test pace of 1:10.34, looked victorious in the final sixteen as they rebuffed a stretch offer from Zandon . But before the winningest North American coach of all time, Steve Asmussen, could claim his first victory in Run for the Roses, Rich Strike clashed inside the dueling leaders, then took them down. overtaken late to score a breathtaking three-quarter. victory by one length over Winchell’s son of Not this time .
“The Winchell family have won races all over the country and have won a few in Europe, but the three classics have eluded us so far,” said David Fiske, racing director for Winchell Thoroughbreds. “I thought we won (May 7). We were second in the Preakness last year (with Midnight Bourbon ). We were third with tenfold in (2018 Triple Crown winner) Justify the year. We sneak over it. Maybe we can complete the set of collectibles.”
Fiske said position 8 should work well for Epicenter.
“The draw is good, he manages to charge almost last. With his racing style, where he can be placed in front and run behind the horses, he would go well anywhere,” he said .
Fiske admitted he was a bit taken aback by the punter’s 6-5 price tag on the Kentucky Derby runner-up.
“I was a little surprised because I hadn’t heard anyone price it that low. I guess that’s a sign of trust.”
Epicenter, bred in Kentucky by Westwind Farms, has won four of seven starts, with victories in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2), which was contested at the same 1 3/16 mile distance as the Preakness, and Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford (G2).
Secret oath after his victory in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs
Briland Farm’s secret oath has tackled the boys before, finishing a troubled third in the Arkansas Derby (G1) last month at Oaklawn Park. As exhausting as that effort may have seemed, living legend of the sport, 86-year-old coach D. Wayne Lukas found her back in top form for the Oaks.
Although the daughter of the late Arrogate was co-third choice in a top-heavy Oaks field, she handled her 13 rivals with verve, winning by two lengths under new driver Luis Saez on the favourite. Nest for Lukas’ record fifth win at Oaks.
“We discussed it in depth (with the owners),” Lukas said. “We kind of researched who was going and who could go, trying to get a sense of the run. (We) checked it another day and found it was full of life and playing there. So we decided to take a hit and let’s go.”
Secret Oath will be looking to become the seventh filly to win the Preakness and the second in three editions. Swiss paratrooper upset in 2020.
Early voting Klaravich Stables had enough qualifying points to run in the Kentucky Derby, but trainer Chad Brown opted to book the speedy son of gun runner for the Preakness and dispatched the winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) Zandon in the opening round of the Triple Crown, where he finished third.
“He trains really well and the spacing works for him. He appreciates a little more time,” Brown said of second in the Wood Memorial Stakes presented by Resorts World Casino (G2). “If he goes into the Preakness like he trained, he’s got a really good shot in there.”
Early voting (outside) blows up with Miles D on May 13 at Belmont Park
With his horse thinking he was up front or just wide, Brown had no problem with him breaking into midfield from post 5.
“It seems like a cozy place,” said the four-time Eclipse Award winner. “He’s normally a good gate horse. Hopefully he breaks well, and we’ll let (jockey Jose Ortiz) take him from there.”
If the early vote captured the Preakness, it would give Brown and Klaravich boss Seth Klarman their second classic win and mirror the path to their 2017 Preakness winner. cloud computing , who also jumped from the Wood to the Preakness. Cloud Computing finished third at Wood Memorial.
Bred by Three Chimneys Farm, Early Voting raced only three times, winning twice.
Secret Oath and Early Voting are among six entrants who did not start the Kentucky Derby. Known as the “new shooters” in the Preakness, these newcomers to the Triple Crown are seeking a third straight win and fourth in six years following a run of nine wins in 10 years by starters Run for the Roses.
The Simplification of Tami Bobo and Tristan de Meric took advantage of the brutal pace to close from 15th place and finish fourth in the Kentucky Derby. The son of Not this time trained by Antonio Sano, has been remarkably consistent, winning the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and winning or placing in three of the four graduated stakes.
Sano was fine with his late 3-year-old son who came off the rail.
Simplification trains ahead of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
“I have no problem with the position,” Sano said. “The speed horses are outside of him. He has room behind the speed to run.”
Calumet Farm’s Happy Jack is the third Kentucky Derby starter to return in two weeks for the Preakness.
A landrace son of the 2013 Preakness winner oxbow , Happy Jack was rather pessimistic in the race for the roses as he found himself last in the field of 20 after the opening half mile and found himself 14th. Prior to that he was a promising third in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) for trainer Doug O’Neill.
“We did a bunch of diagnostics on him, drawn blood. He checks all the boxes on a horse that came out of his recent race in good shape. We like the Preakness distance, and we like a shorter field than the 20 Derby horses,” O’Neill said. “Oh, by the way, his dad, Oxbow, won that race, and that’s pretty cool.”
Calumet Farm holds the records for Preakness wins by owner and breeder, with seven in both categories.
The field also includes Santa Anita’s Allocation as an optional Armagnac winner seeker (quality road ), who was previously coached by the suspended Bob Baffert and finished fourth in the Santa Anita Derby; Minister of Creation (creative cause ), an optional stipend claiming the winner for coach Ken McPeek on the Kentucky Derby undercard; Skippylongstocking, a son of the 2016 Preakness winner exaggerating who was third in the wood; and Fenwick (Curling ), who finished 11th in the Blue Grass Stakes.
An Ojo was not entered due to a recurring foot bruise.
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