Trailing in the middle of the pack for most of the race, Early Voting pulled ahead through the final stretch – winning it by just 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Epicenter, the runner-up at the Kentucky Derby earlier this month.
Epicenter was the favorite heading into the nine-horse race at 3-2 but landed another second-place finish followed by Creative Minister.
Saturday’s win is trainer Chad Brown’s second at the Preakness.
“I was never worried,” Brown said. “Once we had a good target, I actually preferred that. We were fine to go to the lead, but I thought down the back side it was going to take a good horse to beat us. And a good horse did run up on us near the wire and it was about the only one that could run with us.”
Rich Strike, who did not compete at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, won the first leg of the Triple Crown earlier this month after pulling off one of the biggest upsets in Kentucky Derby history.
Similarly, Early Voting did not run in the Derby in order to give the horse more time to train and rest.
“That’s very hard to get an owner to pass on the Derby, and they did the right choice,” jockey Jose Ortiz said. “The horse, I don’t think he was seasoned enough to run in a 20-horse field and they proved that they were right today.”
Temperatures reached the mid-90s on Saturday and only cooled down just a few degrees before the horses entered the starting gate but Early Voting and Oritz didn’t seem to break a sweat coming across the finish line.
Epicenter trainer Steve Asmussen said after the race he was “disappointed.”
“He just had too much to overcome.”
The final leg of the Triple Crown races will be the Belmont Stakes on June 11 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.