If not for an unlikely train trip by Rich Strike 80-1 away in the Kentucky Derby, then Epicenter would be the undisputed center of attention in the build-up to Saturday’s $1.65 million Precocity issues at Pimlico Racecourse. Now, instead of being a candidate for a possible Triple Crown, he is simply the favorite.
After losing the lead in the final 10 strides to finish second in the Derby, and with Rich Strike not making it to Baltimore, Epicenter drew the 8 post into the field of nine. He was named the 6-5 morning line favorite in Monday’s draw at Citron Restaurant and Bar in Baltimore.
Get a jump on Preakness, undercards Black-Eyed Susan.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Epicenter is a two-time Year 2 winner who will again be driven by reigning Eclipse Prize winner Joel Rosario.
Two new shooters who weren’t in the Derby, Kentucky Oaks (G1) winning filly Secret Oath (9-2) at post 4 and Early Voting runner-up Wood Memorial (G2) (7-2) at post 5, have been predicted to attract a lot of betting attention for the 1 3/16 mile classic.
Sired by Arrogate, trained by six-time Preakness winner D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Luis Sáez, Secret Oath could become the second filly in three years to win the race. Swiss Skydiver did this for trainer Kenny McPeek in 2020, when the Preakness was postponed for 4.5 months due to the COVID outbreak.
Early Voting had the points needed to qualify for the Derby, but trainer Chad Brown decided to give the colt Gun Runner six weeks between starts. José Ortiz, who rode all three Early Voting races including first wins and Grade 3, will race again on Saturday in what will be the colt’s first start away from Aqueduct.
Another Gun Runner colt, Simplification (6-1), could be the fourth most popular betting interest on Saturday. The Fountain of Youth (G2) winner who finished fourth in the Derby drew the rail post. He is trained by Antonio Sano. With Ortiz moving to early voting, John Velázquez was called in to tour the Preakness.
It was the draw for the Preakness field with morning odds from Maryland Jockey Club track handicapper David Feustle.
|1||Simplification||6-1||Antonio Sano||John Velasquez||gun runner|
|2||Minister of Creation*||10-1||Kenny McPeek||Brian Hernandez Jr.||creative cause|
|3||Fenwick||50-1||Kevin McKathan||Florent Geroux||Curling|
|4||secret oath||9-2||D. Wayne Lukas||Luis Saez||Arrogate|
|5||Early voting||7-2||Chad Brown||Jose Ortiz||gun runner|
|6||Happy Jack (Blk-On)||30-1||Doug O’Neill||Tyler Gaffalione||oxbow|
|7||Armagnac||12-1||Tim Yakteen||Irad Ortiz Jr.||quality road|
|8||Epicenter||6-5||Steve Asmussen||Joel Rosario||Not this time|
|9||Skippy Longstocking||20-1||Saffie Joseph Jr.||Junior Alvarado||exaggerating|
|F – Filly|
|Blk-On – turn signals on|