- Chad Brown’s Early Voting held off favored Epicenter to win the 2022 Preakness Stakes.
- Epicenter got a poor start and never recovered, though he did flash some speed late.
- Creative Minister finished third ahead of Secret Oath, Skippylongstocking, Armagnac, Happy Jack and Fenwick.
Trainer Chad Brown clearly made the right decision when he passed on the Kentucky Derby for three year old prodigy Early Voting. With just three races to his credit, Brown felt that the horse wouldn’t perform well in huge Kentucky Derby field. His decision to point Early Voting to the Preakness Stakes paid off today when he held off favored Epicenter to win second leg of the Triple Crown by 1.25 lengths.
Early Voting with Jose Ortiz aboard got some help due to a questionable ride from Epicenter’s jockey, Joel Rosario. Epicenter didn’t break well and was put behind the proverbial eight ball due to a passive early ride from Rosario. Ultimately, he was unable to dig himself out of the hole though he put up a courageous effort to finish second. Creative Minister–another lightly raced entrant–finished third in front of Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath, Skippylongstocking, Simplification, Armagnac, Happy Jack and Fenwick. Early Voting finished the 1 3/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:54.54.
The ‘Rich Strike’ factor was clearly at play, as the race day crowd at Pimlico threw money at anything approximating an underdog. That’s the only way to explain why Fenwick–on paper, easily the weakest horse in the field–was bet from 50-1 on the morning line down to 9-1 by Friday afternoon and 7-1 early Saturday. He would eventually go off at a more reasonable 13-1 but even that was likely an underlay. Happy Jack was a marginally more qualified entrant–he got bet down from 30-1 on the morning line to 7-1 by Friday afternoon and remained at 7-1 early Saturday. Happy Jack’s post time odds drifted slightly to 11-1. Ultimately, Armagnac would leave the gate as the race underdog priced at 18-1 after his odds drifted from 12-1 on the morning line.
Second place Kentucky Derby runners have not fared well in the Preakness Stakes. Since 1961, 44 second place Derby finishers have started the Preakness. Only three have won, with the last one being Prairie Bayou in 1993. Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath would fair no better–in a reprise of the Arkansas Derby, she got another bad trip and did well to rally for a fourth place finish. The ‘Monday morning quarterbacks’ in the mainstream will likely conclude that she has no business racing male horses. Factor out poor performances by Luis Contreras in the Arkansas Derby and Luis Saez at Pimlico and she’s right there in the mix to win.
Early Voting paid $13.40 to win, $4.60 to place and $3.60 to show. Epicenter returned $2.80 to place and $2.40 to show with Creative Minister paying $4.20 to show. The $1.00 5-8 Exacta paid $12.90, the $1.00 5-8-2 Trifecta paid $66.50, the $1.00 5-8-2-4 Superfecta paid $162.90 and the Interstatedaydream/Early Voting $2 Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness Double paid $107.00.