Saturday, May 21, 2022

In what was just his fourth lifetime start, Early Voting captured the middle jewel of the Triple Crown Saturday at Pimlico with a rousing 1 ¼-length win over Epicenter in the 147th running of the Preakness S. (G1).

The 3-year-old colt is the first winner of an American classic by Gun Runner. The Three Chimneys stallion, who was a record-setting First-Crop sire of 2021, is trending that way once again in 2022, leading in nearly every category on the Second-Crop sire list. Early Voting is the fifth Grade 1 winner for Gun Runner and one of six black type winners this year for his sire.

After intentionally skipping the Kentucky Derby (G1) for the Preakness, Early Voting was near the forefront from the opening stages of Saturday’s 1 3/16-mile contest. Longshot Armagnac led the way through a half mile in :47.44, with Early Voting a length back in second.

Early Voting took over the lead just before entering the homestretch and sprinted away to lead by three lengths. He held off Epicenter to win by 1 ½-lengths in 1:54.54 on a fast track, earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 105, also the highest number of any 3-year-old in 2022.

“[We’ll aim for] a race like the [GI] Travers S. [at Saratoga],” said trainer Chad Brown. “I know it’s a tick farther, but I don’t believe he will have any trouble getting the mile and a quarter.”

Early Voting, winner of the Withers S. (G3) and runner-up in the Wood Memorial (G2) earlier this year, is owned by Seth Klaravich and is 3-1-0 in four starts and has earned $1,311,500. Early Voting joins champion Echo Zulu as one of two Gun Runners to earn at least $1 million.

Early Voting was bred by Three Chimneys and sold for $200,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling sale. The colt’s dam Amour d’Ete has a 2-year-old fully sister to Early Voting. Unraced Amour d’Ete is a full sister to multiple graded stakes winner Irap and a half-sister to champion stalwart sire Speightstown.