Monday, May 16, 2022
BALTIMORE – Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Epicenter was installed at 6-5 in the morning line for Saturday’s 147 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course following today’s post-position draw for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
The Steve Asmussen-trained colt, who finished second in the May 7 Kentucky Derby, drew Post #8 in a field of nine 3-year-olds during the official draw at nearby Citron Restaurant.
Asmussen, a two-time Eclipse Award winner, has saddled a pair of Preakness winners during his Hall of Fame career: Curlin (2007) and the filly Rachel Alexandra (2009).
Epicenter made a powerful move in the Derby to take the lead on the turn into the stretch but was unable to hold off Rich Strike, the 80-1 upsetter who is bypassing the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.
Joel Rosario has the return mount aboard the son of Not This Time, who entered the Derby off impressive victories in the Risen Star (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds.
Klaravich Stables Inc.’s Early Voting was rated second at 7-2 in the morning line after drawing Post #5. The Chad Brown trainee most recently finished second in the April 9 Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct, losing by a neck to Mo Donegal after setting the pace.
The son of Gun Runner, who will be ridden by Jose Ortiz, entered the Wood off a debut maiden score and a 4 ½-length triumph in the Withers (G3) at Aqueduct in his first two career starts.
Briland Farm’s Secret Oath, who captured the May 6 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs by two lengths, was rated third at 9-2 in the morning line after drawing Post #4 for her attempt to become the seventh filly to capture the Preakness. Secret Oath arrived at Pimlico shortly before 3:30 p.m. Monday following a van ride from Churchill, accompanied by her Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, who reported that the Oaks winner handled the trip well. The daughter of Arrogate finished third against males in the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn prior to impressing in the Oaks on Derby eve. Luis Saez, who was aboard for the Oaks, has been awarded the return call by Lukas, a six-time winner of the Preakness.
Tami Bobo and Tristan De Meric’s Simplification, the Florida-bred who closed from 15th to fourth with a very wide rally in the Kentucky Derby, was set at 6-1 after drawing Post #1. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will seek his first Preakness success aboard the Antonio Sano-trained son of Not This Time, who captured the Fountain of Youth (G2) and finished third in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park.
Fern Circle Stables and Back Racing LLC’s Creative Minister [Post #2; 10-1; Brian Hernandez Jr.], SF Racing and partners’ Armagnac [Post #7; 12-1; Irad Ortiz Jr.], Daniel Alonso’s Skippylongstocking [Post #9; 20-1; Junior Alvarado], Calumet Farm’s Happy Jack [Post #6; 30-1; Tyler Gaffalione], and Villa Rosa Farm and Harlo Stable’s Fenwick [Post #3; 50-1; Florent Geroux] round out the field.
“I thought it was ideal," Asmussen said. "It’s a nine-horse field, plenty of run-up to the first turn. Several fresh horses and us coming back in two weeks, I think it’s absolutely ideal. Asmussen said. "You could say we’re half as nervous as the draw for the Derby, when you go from 20 runners to nine. I think that makes it that much more beneficial to everybody as far as post-position draw goes. With that being said, it’s exciting to run against Early Voting, me being a huge fan of Gun Runner (whom he trained). So I’m very excited to see him, but obviously anxious for Epicenter’s opportunity in the Preakness.”
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