Rich Strike Resting Before Possible Preakness Run, Field Starts To Take Shape

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Fresh off his historic Kentucky Derby win, Rich Strike is getting some rest ahead of a potential bid for the second jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes.

“He’s just had a couple days off, walking, grazing, getting bathed, just getting over the race, getting his mind right. He’s seemed to come out of the race really good. We’ll have him on the track in the morning,” trainer Eric Reed told the Maryland Jockey Club. “If things go well this week in the next couple days, I’ll go back to Churchill, gallop him a few days and maybe give him a little workout Monday or Tuesday to stretch his legs. Then, if all goes well, we’ll head to Pimlico.”

Going off at 80-1, Rich Strike and jockey Sonny Leon were near the back of the pack at the top of the stretch, and then found plenty of room near the rail and another gear to pass front-runners Epicenter and Zandon. Prior to shocking upset in the Run for the Roses, his only other win came last September, in a 17 1/4-length victory in a $50,000 maiden claiming race at Churchill Downs.

Reed said Rich Strike is enjoying some time off at Mercury Equine Center in Lexington, KY.

The Maryland Jockey Club did announce some of the entrants in the Preakness Stakes on May 21, including Derby fourth-place finisher Simplification, trained by Antonio Sano.

The 3-year-old son of Not This Time by Simply Confection also made a late charge in the Derby. He is expected to arrive at Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday between 4-5 a.m.

Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. told organizers Skippylongstocking, a son of 2016 Preakness winner Exaggerator, will breeze at Gulfstream Park later this week before shipping up to Pimlico.

Un Ojo, the one-eyed New York-bred who missed the Derby with a foot injury, is also on track for the third Saturday in May. Trainer Clay Courville said he will gallop the gelding Tuesday morning to see how he’s progressing.

“The foot seems good. He’s hitting the ground well, traveling well,” he said. “We’ll gallop tomorrow and see how he is.”

The statuses of Derby runner-up Epicenter and Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath remain unknown.

Epicenter’s trainer, Steve Asmussen, told the Maryland Jockey Club: “All systems look great right now. He’ll catch another walk day and go back to the track Wednesday morning, and we’ll see where we’re at there.”

And D. Wayne Lukas, a six-time Preakness winner who hinted Secret Oath might follow the path of two other champion fillies and eventual Preakness winners, Swiss Skydiver and Rachel Alexandra, said he’s giving his trainee more time.

Both of trainer Tim Yakteen’s Derby runners, Taiba and Messier, are headed back to California and not in consideration for the Preakness after finishing 12th and 15th, respectively. The two colts were previously trained by Bob Baffert, who’s barred from this year’s Preakness.

Two horses that received automatic spots in the Preakness by winning earlier races, Joe in the Federico Tesio Stakes and Blackadder in the El Camino Real Derby, are also not running. Joe will be  nominated for the James W. Murphy Stakes on the Preakness Day program, trainer Michael Trombetta said.