Rich Strike Skipping Preakness Reignites Debate On Spacing Out Triple Crown Races – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (AP) – Graham Motion always wondered what it would be like to show up at the Preakness with the Kentucky Derby winner, and when it happened in 2011 with Animal Kingdom, it was all he hoped for and after. that’s a number.

“No one else can win the Triple Crown,” Motion said. “Everybody wants to see you win Preakness, except for the trainer and connection of the other nine horses. Everyone wants to see a Triple Crown winner. ”

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There will be no 42nd Triple Crown winner in the past 44 years after owner Rick Dawson changed course and opted out of Rich Strike in Preakness following a nasty 80-1 victory in the Derby. That decision comes after odd years without a Derby champion claiming a second jewel in the Preakness that has rekindled the old debate that the three Triple Crown races should be further separated.

Dawson cites more rest as the reason Rich Strike didn’t run in the 1/16-mile Preakness this Saturday at Pimlico Circuit, a race currently worth $1.65 million. Proponents of the Preakness pushback – and expansion, the Belmont Stakes that come three weeks later – argue that it’s better for modern thoroughbreds who aren’t used to racing those short distances and will create stronger fields in Baltimore and New York.

Supporters of the status quo point to the sport’s tradition and say it is difficult to win the Triple Crown. They were also quick to say that it was done twice as recently with American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018.

“That’s what makes Triple Crown so exciting and hard to do,” says trainer Saffie Joseph, who runs Skippylongstocking at Preakness. “Want to make it easier just for a good horse to do it? You need a big horse to win the Triple Crown. I think it makes a lot of sense if it’s like it used to be. ”

Lying down the barn row in the corner of the stock depot at Pimlico, 86-year-old coach D. Wayne Lukas doesn’t expect the current distance of the races to change. They have followed the same schedule since 1969, except for 2020 when the pandemic disrupted the Triple Crown’s order.

But he’s not entirely against adding some extra time between such important races.

“(The Preakness) would probably fit Memorial Day or something like that, and then go on July 4th for Belmont,” said Lukas, who is aiming for a seventh Preakness record win with The Kentucky Oaks Prize-winning Secret Vow. “That makes sense in the world from a horse trainer’s point of view.”

Four weeks each between Derby, Preakness and Belmont is the proposal put forward by NBC Sports analyst Randy Moss, who believes the current rotation doesn’t fulfill its intended purpose of bringing in the best 3-year-olds together on the track three times in the spring.

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“The goal is to beat the best of your generation in three races in a row,” says Moss. “That was the whole point, and it didn’t happen. Many times, it doesn’t happen. ”

In the past 10 years, only 14 horses have run all three stages of the Triple Crown, and of those three have won the first two. Now with Rich Strike’s absence, the virtual guarantee of Preakness being run with a real chance of Triple Crown on the track hasn’t happened since 2018: Medina Spirit ran last year after testing positive. charged at the Derby with an unauthorized substance on race day and was ultimately disqualified; the races in 2020 take place out of order, with Preakness last; and in 2018 neither the DQ’ed Maximum Security nor the Premium Country House winner went to Pimlico.

A representative for 1/ST Racing, the company that runs Preakness, said officials have discussed internally the possibility of pushing racing back and plan to speak with Triple Crown partners about it.

President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said the New York Racing Association is open to thoughtful dialogue on the key issues that will affect the future of motorsport and add any fundamental changes. which version “will require careful consideration and consideration among all interested parties.”

“To sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes needed an exceptionally talented horse to perform heroically at three different racecourses in the space of just five weeks,” said O’Rourke. “This condensed schedule helps maintain the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the Triple Crown mission and plays a role in the enduring success of each installment of the series.”

Moss believes that Preakness is becoming a weak link in the series because there are so few horses running again two weeks after the Derby. This nine-year field of three Derby returnees has started with 20 at the starting gate: Epicenter, Simplification and Happy Jack.

Trainer Mark Casse, who started War of Will in all three Triple Crown races in 2019 – the pony won the Preakness and Sir Winston, also from his stables, took the Belmont – didn’t want anything. what changes.

“You take away everything the Triple Crown has by changing the time,” says Casse. “It needs to stay the status quo. If you start spacing out the races, you’re taking away the greatest tradition we have in horse racing in North America. “

Motion agrees with Casse for reasons of tradition and difficulty keeping the public’s attention for a longer period of time. Nor is he worried about another prolonged Triple Crown drought like the one from 1978 to the American Pharoah in 2015 and thinks horse racing should stand.

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“That’s by no means easy, and a good horse will come back and do it again,” says Motion. “Perhaps a good horse is needed. It probably took a year when there weren’t so many good horses for him to win the Triple Crown. But whatever it is, it will happen again. No doubt. ” Rich Strike Skipping Preakness Reignites Debate On Spacing Out Triple Crown Races – CBS Baltimore

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