Rich Strike, the 80-1 shooter ridden by Sonny Leon and trained by Eric Reed, mounted a furious and unlikely rally to capture the 148th Kentucky Derby on May 7. He wasn’t even in the field until another horse was scratched the day before the race.
But after initially targeting the colt for the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, Rich Strike’s owner said last week that the horse would skip the Preakness and run in the Belmont Stakes on June 11. There won’t be a Triple Crown on the line, but there’s sure to be plenty of drama, with Kentucky Oaks-winning filly Secret Oath taking on the boys, including Derby runner-up Epicenter.
Below, the Preakness horses are listed in order of publication position, with comments from Joe Drape and Melissa Hoppert of The New York Times. The morning line odds were set by Pimlico Race Course’s Keith Feustle.
How to watch: Saturday’s coverage begins on CNBC at 2 pm ET and moves to NBC at 4 pm Coverage will also air on NBCSports.com.
Bag: $1.5 million guaranteed
Distance: 1 3/16 miles
Recorded audio: 1 minute 52⅖ seconds (Farma Way, 1991)
Weight: 126 pounds
post time: 7:01 p.m. Eastern Time
Joe Drape’s win-place-show picks: Secret oath, epicenter, early voting
Melissa Hoppert’s picks: Early Voting, Epicenter, Secrecy Oath
This is how we see the field:
Trainer: Anthony Sano Jockey: Juan Velazquez Possibilities: 6-1
Cover: This colt was running late in the Derby and finished fourth, but he is unlikely to get the quick pace that his late kick sets.
hopper: He has made it to the board in six of eight races and appears to be thriving at Pimlico. But Jose Ortiz, who has been on board with him in his last three starts, believes he has a better chance with Early Voting and chose to ride in his place.
2. Creative Minister
Trainer: Kenny McPeek Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr. Possibilities: 10-1
Cover: This latecomer has shown improvement in each of his three starts, two of which were wins. Another move forward puts him on the hunt.
hopper: His first race was in March, and this will be his classic debut. But his owners believe in him enough to have paid a $150,000 supplemental fee to make him eligible for the last two Triple Crown races. He might as well take a chance and throw it in his exotics.
Trainer: kevin mackathan Jockey: Florent Geroux Possibilities: 50-1
Cover: His only win in six starts came when he broke sharply and led every step of the way. Most likely he is the leader.
hopper: Blue Grass’s 11th-place finisher is the son of 2007 Preakness winner Curlin. But that’s all he has going for him.
4. Secret oath
Trainer: D.Wayne Lucas Jockey: Luis Saez Possibilities: 9-2
Cover: This filly has shown that she belongs with the boys, finishing third behind them in the Arkansas Derby despite a horrible ride. the selection
hopper: No strike of the rich? No problem. The Kentucky Oaks winner has a solid shot at becoming the seventh filly to win the Preakness, which would give Lukas a record seven Preakness wins.
5. Early Voting
Trainer: chad brown Jockey: Jose Ortiz Possibilities: 7-2
Cover: He’s light on the run and quick on his feet. This colt is not impossible.
hopper: The second-place finisher in the Wood Memorial bypassed the Derby to target the Preakness. Brown and colt owner Seth Klarman used this playbook before with the 2017 Preakness-winning Cloud Computing.
6. Happy cat
Trainer: Doug O’Neill Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione Possibilities: 30-1
Cover: He was a handful to charge into the Derby gate and caused chaos early in the race. This one needs to cool down.
hopper: The 14th-place Derby finisher is a son of Oxbow, who won this race in 2013. That, plus the addition of flashing lights, isn’t enough to help him here.
Trainer: tim yakteen Jockey: Irad Ortiz Possibilities: 12-1
Cover: So far, he has simply proven himself a match against high-caliber horses.
hopper: As he picks up Ortiz, he has lost the board in both of his graded stakes races and definitely falls short of others who were previously trained by the beleaguered Bob Baffert, such as Taiba and Messier.
Trainer: steve asmussen Jockey: Joel Rosario Possibilities: 6-5
Cover: This was going to be the postseason favorite even if Rich Strike came along. A consistent guy who worked out big in the Derby.
hopper: He came very close in the Derby, battling to finish second after a breakneck pace in the first half exhausted the rest of the main contenders. He’ll be back in the mix late, but how much did the Derby take from him?
9. Skippy Longstocking
Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr. Jockey: Junior Alvarado Possibilities: 20-1
Cover: He has worked well since finishing third at the Wood Memorial. He can hit the board.
hopper: He is the son of 2016 Preakness winner Exaggerator and the most experienced in the field, having started nine races. But he has only won two.