The horse's owner, Rick Dawson, confirmed his decision to forego the upcoming Preakness Stakes on May 21 at Pimlico Race Course in a statement shared on Thursday (May 12).
“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 honor for all our group,” Dawson said in a statement. “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 is what’s best for our group and pass on running in the Preakness and point toward the Belmont in approximately five weeks.”
Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby last Saturday (May 7) at 80-1 odds, making the horse the second-biggest long shot winner in the race's 148-year history, behind only Donerail, who won the 1913 race at 91-1 odds.
"I don't know how (to put the win into words)," trainer Eric Reed said. "I fell down in the paddock when he hit the wire. I about passed out. I'm so happy. This is something, you know, is the reason everybody does this, because we're not supposed to be here, but I knew this horse loved the track, and we've been training so good all year."
In 2015, American Pharoah became the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown, before Justify accomplished the same feat three years later.