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Rich Strike Back at Churchill Training for Belmont

The Keen Ice colt spent 10 days training at Mercury Equine Center near Lexington.

Rich Strike trains May 12 at Mercury Equine Center

Rich Strike trains May 12 at Mercury Equine Center

Anne M. Eberhardt

RED TR-Racing's Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) winner Rich Strike arrived at Churchill Downs May 18 from his home base of Mercury Equine Center near Lexington to continue his preparation for the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) June 11 at Belmont Park.

The Keen Ice  3-year-old, who surprised at 80-1 odds in the Derby, spent 10 days at Mercury Equine Center before his return to Churchill. Rich Strike galloped at 5:45 a.m. ET May 19, will gallop again May 20, and is scheduled to breeze May 21 at 7:30 a.m.

"When he got off the van you could see his chest puff up," trainer Eric Reed said. "He absolutely loves it here. I think he knows when he's here he has a job to do."

Rich Strike is 2-for-2 at Churchill, having also won a maiden claiming race by 17 1/4 lengths last September. The colt is 0-for-6 away from Churchill, though with two stakes placings. 

The Belmont Stakes is the third jewel of racing's Triple Crown. Reed decided to skip the second jewel, Saturday's Preakness Stakes (G1).

"I just kept going back to how he wouldn't be mentally ready to run in two weeks," Reed said. "Our original plan if we didn't get in the Derby was to run in the Belmont. So, we're sticking with that plan."