Just two weeks after Rich Strike’s shocking 80-1 upset victory in last weekends 2022 Kentucky Derby (G1), his trainer is set to saddle his first starter at the famous Pimlico Race Course during his 37-year career with 18/1 shot Un Ojo.
Eric Reed Set For First Preakness Stakes Run
Last weekend in the 2022 Kentucky Derby, winning trainer, Eric Reed, lived every trainers dream when his horse, Rich Strike, put on a 15th-to-1st surge to win the Run for the Roses. Next up for reed is the Preakness Stakes, which will be unfamiliar for the 58-year-old trainer as he saddles Richard Dawson’s impressive colt in the 147th Preakness Stakes (G1) on Saturday, May 21.
Despite being in unfamiliar territory next weekend when he saddles Un Ojo, the trainer does have family connections to Pimlico Racecourse and the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Meanwhile, fresh off the back of that miraculous Kentucky Derby triumph, Rich Strike has returned to Mercury Equine Center for a few days of recovery and rest before resuming training for the Preakness in just 10 days time. Winning trainer of Rich Strike and Un Ojo saddler next weekend, Eric Reed, had this to say on his Run for the Roses victory:
“He’s just had a couple days off, walking, grazing, getting bathed, just getting over the race, getting his mind right. He’s seemed to come out of the race really good. We’ll have him on the track in the morning,” Reed said.
“If things go well this week in the next couple days, I’ll go back to Churchill, gallop him a few days and maybe give him a little workout Monday or Tuesday to stretch his legs. Then, if all goes well, we’ll head to Pimlico.”
Un Ojo odds for 2022 Preakness Stakes
Un Ojo Set to Put Best Foot Forward in Preakness After Missing Out on Kentucky Derby
Forced to miss the Kentucky Derby because of a minor but terribly timed foot bruise, Un Ojo’s team believes the gelding horse will be ready to put his best hoof forward in the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course next weekend.
Un Ojo jogged twice around Churchill Downs’ mile track Monday morning under Clay Courville, assistant to his dad, Louisiana-based trainer Ricky Courville, meaning the 3-year-old is all set for next weekend and a run in the Prekaness Stakes at Pimlico. Clay Courville has hinted that his fathers 2022 Preakness Stakes hopeful, Un Ojo, could just be about ready to go and give a big run next weekend, after unfortunately missing the Kentucky Derby last Saturday.
“He’s doing good. He’s been training well, been back to the track three times now,” Courville said. “He’s on the right track, moving forward. He wanted to gallop. I decided to give him another day of jogging and I’ll gallop him (Tuesday) morning. The foot seems good. He’s hitting the ground well, traveling well. We’ll gallop tomorrow and see how he is.”
The one-eyed Un Ojo was withdrawn from the Derby the morning that entries were taken, five days before the Churchill Downs classic. However, everyone associated with the 3-year-old gelding is hopeful that he could have a big say next weekend in the Preakness, and even go on and win it on his return.
“If everything goes well, we’ll be on to the Preakness. He’s scheduled to work on Saturday morning. We’ll see how he is after that and decide what to do.”
Clay Courville, now 25, can appreciate Rich Strike’s Kentucky Derby victory at 80-1 odds after drawing into the field at literally the last minute to carry the banner for the “little guy.” Rich Strike is only the second graded-stakes winner for trainer Eric Reed, in a career that began in 1985 and includes 1,445 victories through Sunday. Un Ojo won Oaklawn Park’s $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) at 75-1 to give Ricky Courville his first graded-stakes score, so the team will be super hopeful of picking up another graded victory, this time in the prestigious Preakness Stakes.
“I was extremely happy for their connections,” Clay Courville said of the Rich Strike team. “I feel people like that deserve it, people who work hard and don’t have a lot of horses like that, like most people don’t. They take pride in their work, and I like seeing people like that win.”
Un Ojo is set to return in the 2022 Preakness Stakes and will be jockeyed by Ramon Vazquez, who has won previously on him and knows how to get the best out of the horse. After the disappointment of missing the Run for the Roses last weekend due to an untimely injury, Un Ojo comes to Pimlico fresh and ready to give it a real go in the 147th Preakness Stakes race.
Un Ojo odds for 2022 Preakness Stakes