Early Voting captured the 147th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course Saturday, providing Klaravich Stables Inc. and trainer Chad Brown with a second win in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown by following their game plan with 2017 victor Cloud Computing.
Like Cloud Computing, Early Voting bypassed the Kentucky Derby (G1) two weeks earlier and joined the Triple Crown campaign in the Preakness.
Saturday’s Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown headlined a 14-race program featuring 10 stakes, including six graded races. The Preakness Day celebration included InfieldFest, an infield celebration featuring popular music and recording artists, Chainsmokers, Marshmello, Frank Walker and Moneybagg Yo.
Klaravich Stable Inc.’s Seth Klarman, who grew up in Baltimore a few blocks from Pimlico, celebrated his 65th birthday in style while watching Early Voting’s thoroughly professional 1 ¼-length victory over 6-5 favorite Epicenter in the 1 3/16-mile spring classic for 3-year-olds.
Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Early Voting broke alertly to chase early pacesetter Armagnac along the front-stretch and around the first turn following a 24.32-second first quarter of a mile. After the first half-mile was completed in 47.44, the 5.70-1 third-betting choice was still the closest pursuer of Armagnac along the backstretch and around the far turn. Ortiz said, ‘Go,’ leaving the turn into the homestretch, and the son of Gun Runner responded by opening up a 3 ½-length lead in mid-stretch.
2022 Preakness Replay
Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Epicenter, who finished second behind 80-1 longshot Rich Strike in the Kentucky Derby, had a less-than-ideal trip under Joel Rosario. Squeezed back between horses shortly after the start, Epicenter saved ground while racing in eighth on the backstretch. The son of Not This Time staged an inside rally on the far turn and through the stretch but was no match for the fresh legs of Early Voting, settling for second again, 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Creative Minister, who raced evenly for jockey Brian Hernandez.
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Briland Farm’s Secret Oath, the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner who was the only filly and the 5-1 second betting choice in the nine-horse Preakness field, finished fourth for trainer D. Wayne Lukas after dropping back to last in early traffic. Skippylongstocking, Simplification, Armagnac, Happy Jack and Fenwick completed the order of finish.
Early Voting, who ran 1 3 /16 miles in 1:54.54, got a late start in his racing career but showed a lot of promise while winning his Dec. 21 debut at Aqueduct by 1 ½ lengths at a mile. The $200,000 purchase at the 2020 Keeneland September sale came right back to capture the Withers (G3) by 4 ½ lengths on Feb. 5. He earned sufficient qualifying points to run in the Kentucky Derby when he finished second, beaten a neck by Mo Donegal, in the April 9 Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct, but Brown opted to wait for the Preakness with the lightly experienced colt.
Cloud Computing finished third in the 2017 Wood Memorial in his third career start, and Brown chose to wait for the Preakness, which the son of Maclean’s Music won by a head over Classic Empire.
The 2022 Triple Crown series concludes in the June 11 Belmont Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, but Brown didn’t commit to the 1 ½-mile classic following Early Voting’s Preakness triumph.