Early voting helps Epicenter win Preakness stakes

Jose Ortiz fronts the Early Voting winning the 147th run of the Preakness Stakes race at Pimlico Racecourse, Saturday, May 21, 2022, in Baltimore.

Julio Cortez | Photo AP

Early voting helped hardcore favorite Epicenter to win the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, validating the decision to skip the Kentucky Derby and aim for the Triple Crown’s second leg.

Early voting trailed the leaders for much of the race before moving to the top in the final turn. He finished a quarter of the way ahead of Epicenter 1, a runner-up just like he did in the Derby.

The Preakness was held without a Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike after his owner prioritized rest more for a chance to win the Triple Crown.

Early voting, 5-1, gave coach Chad Brown his second Preakness win. He’s also owned by Klaravich Stables, which won the race in 2017 with Cloud Computing.

Jockey Jose Ortiz won the Preakness Championship for the first time. He had never finished higher than fourth in his previous four rides in the race.

Early voting completed the first in a field of nine horses including the Secret Oath, and three returned from running in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago. Early Voting, son of Gun Runner, won the third of four career races for the $900,000 winners’ share of the $1.65 million.

“He has time to rest,” assistant coach Baldo Hernandez said this week. “He’s in good form.”

He’s physically fit enough to deal with some adverse weather conditions. The 147th edition of Preakness took place in near-record temperatures with temperatures soaring in the 90s by the time the horses entered the starting gate.

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