Early Voting went to the front at the head of the stretch and outlasted race favorite Epicenter by 1.5 lengths to capture the 147th Preakness Stakes on Saturday evening at venerable Pimlico Race Course in steamy Baltimore.
Early Voting, who went off as the 5-1 third choice in the race behind Epicenter and the filly Secret Oath, is trained by Chad Brown and owned by Seth Klarman.
Jose Ortiz rode the winner, which covered the 1 3/16-mile race in a time of 1:54.54 on a fast track. It's the first Preakness win for Ortiz, who won the 2017 Eclipse Award for the nation's top thoroughbred jockey.
The Preakness carries a total purse of $1.65 million, with the winner earning 60 percent ($990,000).
Early Voting ran in the pack though the first frac34; of the race behind a moderate pace as set by Armagnac. Early Voting took charge as the horses turned for home as Armagnac faded. Epicenter rallied from the back of the pack on the inside and Secret Oath wheeled to the outside to find room to chase Early Voting.
Early Voting tired in the deep stretch and moved toward the rail but was far clear of Epicenter to affect the latter's run to the wire.
Epicenter held on for second, with longshot Creative Minster third and Secret Oath fourth.
Early Voting's connections opted to skip the Kentucky Derby and point their horse to the Preakness. Klarman grew up just a few blocks from Pimlico, and it was his birthday, setting off a wild celebration.
Early Voting followed the pattern set by Brown and Klarman five years ago when Cloud Computing won the Preakness after not running in the Kentucky Derby. There has been plenty of debate about whether horses that don't race in the Run for the Roses should be allowed to compete against those that want through that gauntlet.
Brown has won the Eclipse Award for training four times, most recently in 2019.
Kentucky Derby longshot winner Rich Strike did not run in the Preakness, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown for thoroughbred 3-year-old horses.
His connections opted to wait to bring him back to competition in the Belmont Stakes on June 11 in New York. Rich Strike's absence assured that there would not be a Triple Crown for the 42nd time in the past 44 years.
--Field Level Media