No Triple Crown for Kentucky Derby champ Rich Strike who swerves the Preakness for the Belmont

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There will be no American Triple Crown bid for shock Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike, connections have announced. The Eric Reed trained Rich Strike went down in history with a back to front 80/1 victory at Churchill Downs under Sonny Leon to take the race in fine style from favourite Epicenter. Chad Brown's Zandon was back in third in the Kentucky spectacular which has commentators caught on the hop by Rich Strike's almost miraculous slaloming through the 20 runner field in the Greatest Two Minutes In Sport. Yet, the three-year-old Keen Ice colt needs more rest and preparation time than the Triple Crown schedule allows so the Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore will be missed in favour of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York.

In a statement issued through the Maryland Jockey Club, owener Rick Dawson said: "Our original plan for Rich Strike was contingent on the KY Derby, should we not run in the Derby we would point toward the Preakness, should we run 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 are going to stay with our plan of what's best for Ritchie (Rich Strike) is what's best for our group, and pass on running in the Preakness, and point toward the Belmont in approximately five weeks. "We thank the wonderful Preakness and Pimlico folks that have reached out to us and very much appreciate the invite. "We wish you all a great race!!!!" The US Triple Crown is an achievement attributed to a three-year-old thoroughbred that in a single season wins the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.

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