From Kentucky Derby Runner-Up to Preakness Contender: Epicenter’s Journey

Epicenter Confirmed for 147th Preakness Stakes

In an unexpected turn of events, Epicenter has decided to compete in the 147th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. This decision came after a training session at Churchill Downs, where Epicenter’s connections were seeking a sign that he was ready to face the horse that upset him in his last race, Rich Strike. Under the watchful eye of trainer Steve Asmussen, Epicenter demonstrated his eagerness to compete and will now head to Pimlico for the prestigious race.

Trainer’s Confirmation and Training Session

Epicenter’s trainer, Steve Asmussen, closely observed the horse’s movements during a jog and gallop session, accompanied by exercise rider Roberto Howell. Following the training session, Asmussen consulted with David Fiske, the bloodstock manager for Epicenter’s owner, Winchell Thoroughbreds, to make the final decision. As a two-time Preakness winner, Asmussen’s expertise played a crucial role in determining Epicenter’s readiness for the race.

The final verdict was clear: Epicenter will participate in the Preakness Stakes after completing a half-mile workout at Churchill Downs on Monday. Asmussen expressed satisfaction with Epicenter’s performance, stating that the horse looked great and displayed the necessary signs of readiness to compete.

Epicenter as the Presumptive Favorite

Despite Epicenter’s second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, he is expected to be the presumptive favorite in the upcoming Preakness Stakes. Keith Feustle, the morning-line author at Pimlico, shared his belief that Epicenter will be the favored horse, predicting odds of around 9/5, depending on the other participating horses.

On the other hand, Rich Strike, the horse that defeated Epicenter in their previous encounter, is not expected to be a top contender. Feustle projected odds of approximately 8/1 for Rich Strike, placing other potential contenders like Zandon, Early Voting, and Secret Oath ahead of him in the betting hierarchy.

Previous Derby Winners and Preakness Favorites

It’s not uncommon for horses that did not win the Kentucky Derby to become favored in the Preakness Stakes. Looking back at past races, the Daily Racing Form (DRF) highlighted examples of long-shot Derby winners crossing the finish line at odds of 50/1, such as Giacomo in 2005 and Mine That Bird in 2009. Both horses went on to be second choices with odds of 6/1 in the Preakness.

Regarding the participation of Zandon, trainer Chad Brown remains undecided, while Wood Memorial runner-up Early Voting is confirmed for the race. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas expressed confidence in Secret Oath’s participation. The final lineup and entries for the Preakness Stakes will be drawn on Monday.

Epicenter’s Racing Success and Potential

Epicenter’s recent success cannot be overlooked. With his second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, he earned a substantial $600,000 payday, bringing his total earnings for the year to over $1.4 million. Remarkably, his career earnings now exceed $1.6 million. Additionally, Epicenter has consistently achieved top-two finishes in his last six races, demonstrating his remarkable talent and consistency.

Trainer Steve Asmussen praised Epicenter’s physical attributes, describing him as a remarkable specimen with exceptional strength. Asmussen noted that the horse handled his training and the aftermath of the Derby with ease. Epicenter displayed his usual relaxed demeanor, which bodes well for his upcoming performance in the Preakness Stakes.


Epicenter’s decision to compete in the 147th Preakness Stakes has created a buzz among racing enthusiasts. Despite his Kentucky Derby setback, Epicenter is expected to be the favorite at the Preakness, with odds reflecting his potential to dominate the race. The horse’s impressive track record and consistent performance have solidified his position as a top contender.


1. Can Epicenter reverse his defeat against Rich Strike in the Preakness Stakes?

While anything is possible in horse racing, Epicenter’s talent and consistent performance make him a strong contender to reverse his defeat against Rich Strike. Despite the previous outcome, Epicenter’s form and readiness for the Preakness suggest that he has a good chance of coming out on top this time.

2. Who are the main challengers to Epicenter’s Preakness victory?

While Rich Strike emerged victorious in the previous encounter, other horses like Zandon, Early Voting, and Secret Oath pose significant challenges to Epicenter’s Preakness victory. These contenders should not be underestimated, as they bring their own strengths and tactics to the race.

3. How does Epicenter’s earnings compare to other horses in the Preakness Stakes?

In terms of earnings, Epicenter stands out among the competitors in the Preakness Stakes. With over $1.6 million in career earnings and more than $1.4 million earned this year alone, Epicenter has established himself as a high-earning and successful racehorse.

4. What makes Epicenter a strong favorite for the Preakness Stakes?

Epicenter’s strong performance in previous races, particularly his consistent top-two finishes, distinguishes him as a formidable contender for the Preakness Stakes. His physical attributes and the endorsement of experienced trainer Steve Asmussen further cement his status as a strong favorite for the race.

5. How important is the Preakness Stakes for Epicenter’s racing career?

The Preakness Stakes holds significant importance for Epicenter’s racing career. Winning this prestigious race would not only add to his earnings but also solidify his position as one of the top racehorses in the country. Success in the Preakness will enhance his reputation and potentially open doors to further opportunities in the future.

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Doug I. Jones

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