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Shock Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike to bypass Triple Crown attempt

Rich Strike: heading to the Belmont Stakes next
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Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will miss the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the US Triple Crown, and instead head straight to the Belmont Stakes next month. 

The Eric Reed-trained runner caused one of the biggest shocks in American racing history when weaving between runners to strike at 80-1.

His owner Rick Dawson said the Preakness on May 21 would come too soon for the son of Keen Ice, and a trip to New York for the Belmont Stakes is next on the agenda.

In a statement, Dawson said: "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 but if we ran 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 five or six 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 honour for all our group.

"However, after much discussion and consideration with my trainer Eric Reed and a few others, we're going to stay with our plan of what's best for 'Ritchie' and pass running in the Preakness, and point towards the Belmont in approximately five weeks."

With the removal of Rich Strike, Kentucky Derby runner-up Epicenter is the top finisher expected to run in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Early Voting, Secret Oath, and Simplification are other leading contenders.

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Obviously, with our tremendous effort and win in the Derby it's very, very tempting to alter our course and run in the Preakness
E.W. Terms