Early Voting holds off Epicenter to win Preakness Stakes

Saturday, May 21, 2022
STEPHEN WHYNO, Associated Press

Maybe additional relaxation is not such a foul factor for a racehorse in any case.

In the Preakness Stakes that was run with out the Kentucky Derby winner as a result of Rich Strike’s proprietor felt he wanted extra day off after his 80-1 upset, Early Voting validated a gutsy determination to skip the Derby and purpose for the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Early Voting held off hard-charging favourite Epicenter to win the Preakness on Saturday, rewarding coach Chad Brown and proprietor Seth Klarman for his or her endurance. Early Voting stalked the leaders for a lot of the race earlier than transferring into first across the closing flip and completed 1 1/4 lengths forward of Epicenter, who was second identical to within the Derby.

“We thought he needed a little more seasoning, the extra rest would help him,” Klarman mentioned. “He was pretty lightly raced – only three races before today. And as it turned out, that was the right call. We wanted to do right by the horse, and we’re so glad we waited.”

The preliminary plan within the Preakness was for Early Voting to not wait and for jockey Jose Ortiz to take him to the lead. That seemed particularly vital on a day when the grime monitor at Pimlico Race Course was favoring pace and making it arduous for horses to come back from behind down the stretch.

But when Armagnac jumped out to the lead, Ortiz settled Early Voting, who had loads left within the tank earlier than the end line with Epicenter threatening inside on the rail.

“I was never worried,” Brown mentioned. “Once we had a good target, I actually preferred that. We were fine to go to the lead, but I thought down the back side it was going to take a good horse to beat us. And a good horse did run up on us near the wire and it was about the only one that could run with us.”

After simply two Triple Crown winners previously four-plus many years, Rich Strike proprietor Rick Dawson took loads of criticism for skipping the Preakness as a result of he felt the horse wanted extra relaxation to organize for the Belmont Stakes on June 11.

Some of that is perhaps muted within the aftermath of Early Voting’s spectacular efficiency.

“That’s very hard to get an owner to pass on the Derby, and they did the right choice,” mentioned Ortiz, who received the Preakness for the primary time. “The horse, I don’t think he was seasoned enough to run in a 20-horse field and they proved that they were right today. I’ve been on him since he was a baby. We always knew he was very talented, but we knew he was going to be a late developer.”

Klarman and Brown solid doubt on the potential for Early Voting taking over Rich Strike within the Belmont to make it a showdown between the Derby and Preakness winners. They mentioned Early Voting may not be suited to the mile-and-a-half Belmont.

But Early Voting had no downside with 1 3/16 miles within the Preakness, which didn’t have a blazing quick tempo just like the Derby.

“It’s just beautiful when a plan comes together,” Brown mentioned.

Early Voting, who went off at 5-1, gave Brown his second Preakness victory. Cloud Computing, the 2017 winner, can be owned by Klarman’s Klaravich Stables.

“Cloud Computing was a once in a lifetime and now I have a twice in a lifetime,” mentioned Klarman, who grew up three blocks from Pimlico and was celebrating his sixty fifth birthday. “Really hard to believe it could’ve happened.”

Early Voting won the race in 1:54.54 and paid $13.40, $4.60 and $3.60. Epicenter paid $2.80 and $2.40 for place and show, and Creative Minister was third and paid $4.20 to show.

Although Epicenter was passed by Rich Strike in the Derby and couldn’t make a similar move in the Preakness, it was a familiar feeling for trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Joel Rosario. A disappointed Asmussen said his horse “just had too much to overcome” after a tough begin.

“I couldn’t get my place,” Rosario mentioned. “I had nowhere to go. You just have to stay there and hopefully at some point it opens up. It was really tight the whole way.”

Early Voting completed first in a subject of 9 horses, which included D. Wayne Lukas-trained filly Secret Oath and three who got here again after working within the Kentucky Derby two weeks in the past. Secret Oath completed fourth 15 days after profitable the Kentucky Oaks.

“She made a big, sweeping run,” Lukas mentioned. “It just wasn’t her day.”

Early Voting, a son of Gun Runner, received for the third time in 4 profession races to take the $990,000 winner’s share of the $1.65 million purse. Asmussen mentioned, “Early Voting is the winner of the Preakness and deserves all the credit for doing so – and nothing but.”

The 147th version of the Preakness came about in near-record warmth with the temperature hovering to 90 when the horses left the beginning gate.

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