Maybe extra rest isn’t such a bad thing for a racehorse after all.
In the Preakness Stakes that was run without the Kentucky Derby winner because Rich Strike’s owner felt he needed more time off after his 80-1 upset, Early Voting validated a gutsy decision to skip the Derby and aim for the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Early Voting held off hard-charging favorite Epicenter to win the Preakness on Saturday, rewarding trainer Chad Brown and owner Seth Klarman for their patience. Early Voting stalked the leaders for much of the race before moving into first around the final turn and finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Epicenter, who was second just like in the Derby.
“We thought he needed a little more seasoning, the extra rest would help him,” Klarman said. “He was pretty lightly raced — only three races before today. And as it turned out, that was the right call. We wanted to do right by the horse, and we’re so glad we waited.”
The initial plan in the Preakness was for Early Voting not to wait and for jockey Jose Ortiz to take him to the lead. That looked especially important on a day when the dirt track at Pimlico Race Course was favoring speed and making it hard for horses to come from behind down the stretch.