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Early Voting Wins 2022 Preakness Stakes over Betting Favorite Epicenter

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 21, 2022

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Early Voting won the 2022 Preakness Stakes, holding off a late challenge from Epicenter at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday.

For Epicenter, it's yet another disappointing second-place finish after posting the same result in the Kentucky Derby.

NBC Sports @NBCSports

EARLY VOTING TO WIN THE PREAKNESS!<br><br>With hot and fast conditions, he wins the race by a length and a half.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Preakness147?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Preakness147</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/PreaknessStakes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PreaknessStakes</a> <a href="https://t.co/Nx6H0QsupD">pic.twitter.com/Nx6H0QsupD</a>


Preakness Stakes Results

  1. Early Voting
  2. Epicenter
  3. Creative Minister
  4. Secret Oath
  5. Skippylongstocking
  6. Simplification
  7. Armagnac
  8. Happy Jack
  9. Fenwick

Armagnac set the pace early, running out to the front of the pack. Even in the shortest of the three Triple Crown races, though, the odds of him remaining in that position didn't look good.

As the race progressed, the favorites began inching their way up the field.

Coming around the final turn, Early Voting overtook Armagnac for first place and didn't look back. It looked like he and jockey Jose Ortiz would coast to a relatively straightforward finish. But Epicenter came charging up from the rail.

Ortiz did a great job of getting in front of Epicenter and forcing jockey Joel Rosario to the outside. That move sealed the victory, giving trainer Chad C. Brown his second Preakness Stakes triumph.

Like Early Voting, Cloud Computing didn't run in the Kentucky Derby before making the trip to Pimlico.

For Epicenter, his fate was largely sealed as soon as the race began.

Starting from the No. 8 post should've allowed Rosario to stake out a place well off the rail. Instead, Epicenter wound up stuck inside with nowhere to go after a slower than expected run out of the gate.

Patrick Carey @PatCareySports

Epicenter didn’t show much speed out of the gate and was squeezed back early. <br><br>By the time Epicenter had space to make some moves, there was too much ground to cover.

Matt Dinerman @3coltshandicap

It’s too bad Epicenter got such a bad trip because he ran terrific as the runner up (again.) <br><br>The first thing you want to do in a horse race is break as sharp as possible and get good position. That didn’t happen today with him.

Once there was enough space to let the horse hit his top speed, it was too late.

The Derby winner was notable in his absence at Pimlico.

Rich Strike pulled off one of the biggest upsets ever in the history of the Run for the Roses. However, owner Richard Dawson made it clear that outcome wouldn't force his team to deviate from its plans.

Dawson thought the turnaround time between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes was too short to ask Rich Strike to run, and so the colt has trained for the Belmont Stakes instead.

Because he was such a massive underdog at Churchill Downs, Rich Strike's withdrawal may not have shaken things up much for the second leg of the Triple Crown. Plenty of Derby winners have struggled at Pimlico, and they possessed far stronger bodies of work.

Coming off wins in the Risen Star Stakes and Louisiana Derby, Epicenter made a strong account of himself in the Kentucky Derby and was more than deserving of his favorite status Saturday.

Likewise, Secret Oath already had a major win under his belt after taking the Kentucky Oaks. Early Voting ran second behind Mo Donegal in the Wood Memorial and was well-rested as he made the trip to Baltimore.

Even with only nine horses entered, this was a formidable field, and Early Voting catapulted himself to the top.

Now, he might be on a collision course with Rich Strike in the Belmont Stakes on June 11.

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