A record $179 million was wagered in the pari-mutuel pool for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, according to Churchill Downs.
After impressing with a strong workout, Rich Strike remains on track for the third leg of the Triple Crown. But there won’t be a showdown between the surprise Kentucky Derby champion and the Preakness winner. Early Voting’s owner and trainer confirmed the colt will bypass the Belmont.
Early Voting held off hard-charging favorite Epicenter to win the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, validating the decision to skip the Kentucky Derby and aim for the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Veteran trainer Eric Reed and everybody around him partied long after the 80-1 long shot pulled off a monumental feat on Saturday. Once their heads clear, the next step will be to decide whether Rich Strike’s storybook journey continues at the 147th Preakness on May 21 in Baltimore.
Jockey Sonny Leon guided Rich Strike from far back in the 20-horse field to beat 4-1 favorite Epicenter by three-quarters of a length. Zandon was another three-quarters of a length back in third at Churchill Downs in front of a crowd that included former President Donald Trump.
With interest among the general public at its highest with the 148th Kentucky Derby coming up Saturday, horse racing is once again under intense scrutiny. The industry has been rocked by scandal in recent years, including the disqualification of last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, a horse doping conspiracy involving trainers and veterinarians, and the punishment of its highest-profile trainer.