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Lightning [Rich] Strike at Derby
News Bytes 05/9/2022 9 Comments

Folks watching Saturday’s Kentucky Derby got a big dose of crazy. A come-from-waaayyy-behind horse charged up the rail to win at Churchill Downs. The horse called Rich Strike stole the show with the second-biggest upset in the Derby’s 148-year history.

On Saturday, a cloudy and unusually cool day, fans strutted in their huge hats, floral-print dresses, and seersucker suits. After two years of pandemic-affected derbies, this “Run for the Roses” in Kentucky was back in full swing.

As the famous horse race began, all eyes focused on the favorite, Epicenter, and several other steeds that came out blazing fast. A half mile into the one-and-a-quarter mile race, Rich Strike was in 18th place with only two horses trailing him.

Coming into the final stretch, Epicenter and Zandon dueled neck and neck at the front of the pack.

But Rich Strike and jockey Sonny Leon had other plans. An aerial view of the race shows Leon weaving the horse through narrow gaps, zigging and zagging and passing horse after horse to the inside rail. Nobody, it seems, saw them coming.

In the stretch to the finish, Leon deftly guided Rick Strike around the horse Messier—and went right back to the rail. Only Epicenter and Zandon were left to beat.

“When I was in the last 70 yards, I said, ‘I think I got this race,’” Leon says.

Rich Strike ended up defeating Epicenter by three-quarters of a length in 2:02.61. Zandon finished another three-quarters of a length back in third.

“Oh, my goodness,” screamed announcer Larry Collmus, who hadn’t mentioned Rich Strike during the entire broadcast. “The longest shot has won the Kentucky Derby!”

“I about fell down in the paddock when he hit the wire,” winning trainer Eric Reed says.

Rich Strike wasn’t even in the Derby until Friday. A horse called Ethereal Road scratched (withdrew). That made room for Rich Strike, the horse with just one previous win in his career.

“We found out about 30 seconds before the deadline on Friday,” Rich Strike owner Rick Dawson says. “It put us in the race, and really we always felt if we just got in, we’ve got a shot.”

“I can’t believe it,” says Epicenter trainer Steve Asmussen. “I got beat by the horse that just got in.”

Not since 1913, when a horse called Donerail won, has a horse had a more surprising finish.

It was the first Derby for Leon, Reed, and Rich Strike. Trainer Reed understands why people ignored this colt, whose victory surely inspired little guys everywhere.

A few days ago, Reed sent owner Dawson a photo of the colt sprawled in his straw-covered stall with his handlers napping on him. Reed typed, “I think our horse is cool and ready to run.”

Dawson responded, “If we can wake him up.”

Did they ever.

“Small trainer, small rider, small stable,” Reed says. “Lightning can strike.”

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. — 1 Corinthians 9:24

(Rich Strike (21), with Sonny Leon aboard, wins the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Louisville, Kentucky. AP/Jeff Roberson)

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Most recent comments

imm sorry but if anyone here watches horse racing u have way too much time on ur hands

@Christian

How is watching horse racing different from watching any other sport? Or any TV show for that matter... I watch basketball as a hobby.

3rd comment

I read books on horse racing, they are generally really cool. It's what people did before football or basketball or baseball was a thing. I don't actually watch horse racing but it would be really cool. I mostly when I watch any sport is football with family, mountain biking with dad, and parkour at parkour class.

I've watched the Kentucky

I've watched the Kentucky Derby a couple times.

5th comment

I used to be so into horse racing! I actually wanted to be a jockey, but then I got too big. XD lol! But horse racing is pretty neat, if you ignore all the betting and stuff like that. This was an awesome win! I was wondering how the Derby went, I thought about it on Saturday! But it was like 98 degrees here that day! Anyway, that is one amazing comeback, especially for being put in the race at the very last 30 seconds!

I was pulling for Tiz the

I was pulling for Tiz the Bomb

@Kaitlana O

cuz… its horse racing

ChristianB

I watched the race and I certainly don't have too much time on my hands. The race was only like two minutes long lol

YAY!

I love the Kentucky Derby and especially the races likes this when your shocked outa your mind. My family usually watches it every year but we were REALLY busy this time but I had to know who won lol and yeah Christian B watching a horse race is quicker than any other sport so.........lol

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