Epicenter aims to shake off Kentucky Derby loss in Preakness

Ron Winchell has sat and contemplated the cosmic energy of the universe.

He’s thought of the entire components that needed to conspire for Rich Strike, a ancient 80-1 lengthy shot, to win the 148th operating of the Kentucky Derby this month, and within the procedure deny Epicenter — owned by means of Winchell and skilled by means of Steve Asmussen — a long-sought Derby win.

Ethereal Road scratching from the race to permit Rich Strike to go into the sphere.

The breakneck tempo set by means of Summer Is Tomorrow, which whittled the 20-horse box right down to a make a selection few.

Lastly, and maximum painfully, the titanic rate close to the rail by means of Rich Strike, to move favorites Epicenter and Zandon within the stretch to finish essentially the most implausible of Derby effects.

No, Winchell isn’t over it but.

On Thursday afternoon, he informed newshounds by means of video convention he may by no means recover from it.

“Obviously, that was a tough beat … (Epicenter) showed up, he was running and of course at the end it was heartbreaking to get run down at the wire,” Winchell stated. “I kind of saw (Rich Strike) sneaking up on the rail, and I’ve watched a billion races. You just have that sinking feeling. … I had to sit for five minutes and absorb it afterward.”

While the ache from the Derby defeat would possibly linger for Winchell, Asmussen and the ones linked to Epicenter — born in Bowling Green — the pony may have a possibility for some degree of redemption come Saturday night time in Baltimore with the 147th operating of the Preakness Stakes.

Epicenter, the post-time favourite for the Kentucky Derby, used to be put in because the morning-line favourite for the Preakness Stakes this week.

He’s one of the most headliners within the nine-horse box, and one in all handiest 3 horses (in conjunction with Simplification and Happy Jack) set to run the Preakness after additionally operating the Kentucky Derby.

So what have the previous two weeks been like for Winchell within the aftermath of such an emotional Derby defeat?

“Just taking awhile to kind of absorb it. … It’s hard to get over (that) all those things happened to beat the favorite,” Winchell stated.

Rich Strike surged on the end to win the Kentucky Derby two weeks in the past. Epicenter used to be 2d, adopted by means of Zandon. Of the highest 3, handiest Epicenter will compete within the Preakness Stakes. Mark Mahan

Epicenter will leave from put up place No. 8 in Saturday’s race, with handiest 20-1 shot Skippylongstocking to his out of doors.

It’s price remembering that Rich Strike — who received’t race the Preakness as a result of the quick two-week turnaround — departed from the furthest out of doors put up place (No. 20) on methods to his Derby win.

Despite the a lot smaller box in comparison to the Kentucky Derby, there’s nonetheless high quality within the Preakness box, which options Simplification (fourth within the Derby), Secret Oath (the filly who received the Kentucky Oaks) and Early Voting (2d within the Wood Memorial and with Baltimore-connected homeowners) atop the making a bet odds in conjunction with Epicenter.

But the build-up to the Preakness hasn’t intended adjustments for Winchell, Asmussen and jockey Joel Rosario.

“He’s a very versatile horse, we anticipate we’ll sit off the pace,” Winchell stated. “If the pace doesn’t unfold he could find himself on the lead. I don’t anticipate that happening, but that’s what’s nice about bringing a versatile horse to any big race. You have options and he’s got options.”

While it won’t raise the status of the Kentucky Derby, particularly in a 12 months with out the Triple Crown at the line, taking pictures one in all horse racing’s “big three” titles is one thing that’s proved tough for Winchell as an proprietor.

This used to be glaring in final 12 months’s Preakness Stakes, when Midnight Bourbon (any other Winchell-owned, Asmussen-trained horse) completed 2d within the race after being run down within the stretch by means of Rombauer.

“The confidence level is great,” Winchell stated of Epicenter getting into the Preakness. “But with any big race you just hope you show up and run. So I think if he shows up and runs then we’re in a good position.”

Epicenter is the 6-5 morning-line favourite towards a box of 8 different horses in Saturday’s 147th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Coady Photography

Winchell serious about racing’s political long run

A large political defeat used to be dealt to the gaming and horse racing business Tuesday night time when Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, misplaced a number one election in House District 69.

Koenig, who used to be an eight-term incumbent, used to be defeated by means of challenger Steven Doan, who used to be counseled by means of U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie and state Rep. Savannah Maddox.

Koenig is the chairman of the House Licensing and Occupations Committee and may be the lead proponent of a invoice to legalize, keep an eye on and tax sports activities gaming within the state.

Winchell, who’s curious about gaming bars/eating places and bought Kentucky Downs in Franklin in November 2018, stated shedding the presence of Koenig in Frankfort is a “devastating loss.”

“When you look at Kentucky politics, horse racing should be one of the number one things. It’s an important industry for the state,” Winchell stated. “A lot of times it doesn’t go that way, so when you lose a guy like Adam Koenig, it hurts racing overall. That’s something that’s very concerning moving forward. I think we lack in Kentucky some of the support for racing that I believe it should have. It’s a very important industry but they don’t usually treat it like that.”

Preakness Stakes

When: 7:01 p.m. Saturday

Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.

TV: NBC-18

Purse: $1.5 million

Distance: 1 3/16 miles

For: 3-year-old Thoroughbreds

The box, with odds:

1. Simplification (6-1)

2. Creative Minister (10-1)

3. Fenwick (50-1)

4. Secret Oath (9-2)

5. Early Voting (7-2)

6. Happy Jack (30-1)

7. Armagnac (12-1)

8. Epicenter (6-5)

9. Skippylongstocking (20-1)

This tale used to be at the start printed May 20, 2022 7:53 AM.

Cameron Drummond works as a sports activities reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader with a focal point at the University of Kentucky girls’s basketball program, along with different school, highschool {and professional} sports activities within the house. Drummond is a first-generation American who used to be born and raised in Texas, earlier than graduating from Indiana University in 2020. He is a fluent Spanish speaker who prior to now labored as a group information reporter for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper in Austin, Texas.

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