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May 22, 2022 7:03 pm

Early Voting, Epicenter to skip Belmont Stakes

Preakness winner Early Voting will not run in the Belmont Stakes on June 11, trainer Chad Brown said Sunday.

Epicenter, which finished second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, also won’t run in the third leg of the Triple Crown, trainer Steve Asmussen said.

The decision to have Early Voting skip the Belmont comes one day after the horse notched the biggest victory of his career while competing in just his fourth race.

Brown said he doesn’t yet know when Early Voting will next race.

“We are thrilled with the victory,” Brown told reporters. “I’m proud of the horse, proud of my team. It was a super memorable day. … Everything lined up. I’m just so appreciative for the day, the performance.”

Epicenter lost down the stretch of the Kentucky Derby when 80-1 longshot Rich Strike made a frantic late-race dash to record a memorable victory.

In the Preakness, Epicenter was unable to chase down Early Voting down the stretch.

“We’ll give him a little break,” Asmussen said of Epicenter. “We’re constantly evaluating the situation, but the plan is for him to go to Saratoga (N.Y.), and from here I’d suggest the Jim Dandy and the Travers (as possible next races).”

Rich Strike is currently at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., for workouts and early preparation for the Belmont Stakes.

“Skipping the Preakness was still one of the toughest decisions I had to make as a trainer,” Eric Reed said. “I just don’t think he would’ve been mentally ready to run against those horses again.”

–Field Level Media

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