By Charles Passy
Early Voting won the 147 running of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.
Epicenter finished second in the contest, held at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course. Creative Minister came in third.
Early Voting was among the favorites and went off at 5-1 odds.
Epicenter was the top favorite in the nine-horse field, with morning-line odds of 6-5. Two weeks ago, the horse, trained by Steve Asmussen, placed second in the Kentucky Derby, the Triple Crown’s first leg.
Of course, the big story of the day was the horse not in the race: Rich Strike, the longshot-of-longshots winner of the Derby. The horse, which went off at 80-1 in the Kentucky race, was held back from running in the Preakness. Eric Reed, Rich Strike’s trainer, told the New York Times, “I just kept going back to how he wouldn’t be mentally ready to run in two weeks.”
Rich Strike is, however, slated to appear at the Belmont Stakes, the Triple Crown’s third leg, on June 11.
The horses at the Preakness faced an extra challenge — namely, high temperatures. Parts of the country are in the midst of a May heatwave, including Baltimore. A few hours before the race, temperatures in the Maryland city reached 94 degrees Fahrenheit, according to AccuWeather.