Early Voting wins Preakness after skipping Derby; epicenter runner-up

BALTIMORE — Much of the attention leading up to the 147th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course focused less on the horses racing on the sizzling Saturday evening than those who weren’t even in attendance.

Rich Strike, the 80-1 longshot winner of the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, was conspicuously absent after the horse’s owner, Rick Dawson, and trainer, Eric Reed, decided to give Rich Strike more time to rest and recover for next month’s Belmont Stakes .

Without Rich Strike, Derby runner-up Epicenter took center stage as the 6-5 pre-race favorite to win the 1 3/16-mile race. But it was Early Voting, who skipped the Kentucky Derby in order to prepare for the Preakness and started the race a second favorite at 5-1 along with filly Secret Oath, who took home the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Epicenter was runner-up.

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