Early Voting wins Preakness after skipping Derby; Epicenter runner up

BALTIMORE — Much of the attention leading up to the 147th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course focused less on the horses racing on the sizzling Saturday evening than those who weren’t even in attendance.

Rich Strike, the 80-1 long shot winner of the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, was conspicuously absent after owner, Rick Dawson, and trainer, Eric Reed, decided to give the horse more time to rest and recover for next month’s Belmont Stakes.

Bob Baffert, one of horse racing’s most successful and controversial trainers, also did not make the trip to Baltimore. The 69-year-old is still serving his 90-day suspension from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission after Medina Spirit, who finished first at last year’s Kentucky Derby, was disqualified and stripped of the title following a positive test for betamethasone, an anti- inflammatory medication. Medina Spirit collapsed and died last December after a workout.

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