The final week leading up to the Kentucky Derby is typically a period when racing fans are constantly checking for the latest updates regarding their horse. Scratches are likely leading up to the opening Triple Crown race of the year, and one of the big names that have been pulled out from contention is Early Voting for trainer Chad Brown.
When & Why Did Early Voting Pull Out
It was announced just six days before the Kentucky Derby that Early Voting will no longer be taking his place in the starting gate. Many believed that this decision would be made by Brown, as he was constantly teasing that the Preakness Stakes may instead be his long-term goal after running in the G2 Wood Memorial.
However, the final decision was finally made over the weekend, which means that the next time that we will see the three-year-old will now be at Pimlico. So, if you are looking how to bet the 2022 Preakness Stakes you might find Early Voting as one of the contenders.
Regardless, Brown still has an excellent chance of landing a first Kentucky Derby win, as he still has Zandon in the Triple Crown race. This three-year-old has shot to the top of the Kentucky Derby betting for the race following the draw on Monday, with many believing that he has an excellent chance based on his win in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes last time out. However, he will still have a bit to find on Epicenter, after finishing behind the star three-year-old in the G2 Risen Star.
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Who Replaces Early Voting?
Early Voting’s place in the race has now been taken by Pioneer of Medina, who was waiting for one Derby hopeful to be scratched in order to line up at Churchill Downs. Todd Pletcher was delighted that his three-year-old would be running in the race, as he believed that he was deserving of a place in the final field. Pioneer of Medina has already been preparing for his run in the Derby, as he breezed over four furlongs in 47.40 just 24 hours before his place in the opening Triple Crown race was confirmed.
However, the three-year-old remains an outsider in the field for the Kentucky Derby, as he has something to find on many of the leading contenders. He finished back in fourth in the G2 Risen Star, which was won by Epicenter. His finish in that race also saw him finish behind Smile Happy and Zandon. That performance was followed up with a decent third in the G2 Louisiana Derby over a distance of 1 3/16 miles.
Epicenter once again claimed victory, while Zozos was back in second. Pioneer of Medina has at least won this year, as he landed an allowance optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles at Fair Grounds in January. However, whether he has the talent to hang with the very best at Churchill Downs looks extremely unlikely.
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What’s Next For Early Voting?
Plans will now likely be put in place for Early Voting to make a strong challenge in the Preakness Stakes towards the end of May. That race will give the three-year-old extra time to recover from his exertions in the G2 Wood Memorial, where he finished a strong second behind Mo Donegal.
A number of contenders already look set to start at Pimlico for the second Triple Crown race of the season. Among the other three-year-olds that look primed for a challenge in the Preakness, including Shake Em Loose, Blackadder, and High Oak. Meanwhile, the winner of the Kentucky Derby will also be a likely runner in the second leg of the Triple Crown, as they hope to set their date with destiny and join the likes of Secretariat and Justify.