Kentucky Derby winner to skip Preakness

Owner with local ties opts to keep horse on racing schedule

Yukon native Richard Dawson, wearing the red cap, celebrates his horse, Rich Strike's surprise win at the Kentucky Derby. He released a statement Thursday Rich Strike would not run in the Preakness States. (Photo courtesy Coady Photography)

By Michael Pineda
Staff Writer

For the second time in less than a week, Rich Strike shocked the horse racing world.

Thursday morning, Rick Dawson, a native of Yukon and owner of Rich Strike, released a statement Rich Strike will not run in the Preakness Stakes, forgoing an opportunity to win the Triple Crown.

Rich Strike shocked the world on May 7 with a come from behind win in the Kentucky Derby as an 80-1 underdog. The Kentucky Derby is the first of three celebrated races that make up the triple crown. The other two are the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Dawson said the decision was made with Rich Strike’s best interests in mind.

“We are doing what is best for our horse and that is what we have done since Day 1,” Dawson said. “And nothing has really changed.”

Dawson said Rich Strike could have run in The Preakness. The past week has been spent preparing and getting him back into form. In the end, it was about not altering Rich Strike’s racing schedule and keeping goals in sight.

“What happens is, we run in the Preakness, and then we are three weeks to The Belmont,” Dawson said. “We were on a five-week, in-between race cycle pretty much. If we go to The Preakness and The Belmont, then we would have run the Derby, The Preakness and The Belmont all in what is normally our two-cycle race against the best horses in the world.”

Dawson said after putting much thought into it, it was decided Rich Strike has a huge future that doesn’t start and end today.


“We are trying to take a long-term view about it,” he said.

That long-term view includes The Belmont and some notable races beyond that. One race in particular has a sentimental connection for Rich Strike.

“There is a great race in August at Saratoga, New York that his daddy Keen Ice won, beat American Pharoah,” Dawson said. “That was American Pharoah’s only loss. That has been a target of mine for a while.”

American Pharoah won the triple crown in 2015, the first horse to do so in 37 years.

“So, running in the Preakness and then running in The Belmont probably could potentially negatively affect our ability to run in some other race,” Dawson said. “We want to stay on pattern and stay within our cycle and make decisions based on what is best for our horse and go from there.”