Long shot Rich Strike won the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby on a cool, cloudy Saturday at Churchill Downs.
The win is one of the most stunning in Kentucky Derby history, as little was expected of a horse that lost 80-1. According to NBC, Rich Strike is the second-greatest long hit to ever win the Kentucky Derby.
Only Donerail in 1913 won the Kentucky Derby with longer odds at 91-1.
Crossing the wire behind Rich Strike was Epicenter, who was the favorite by post time, followed by Zandon, Simplification and Mo Donegal.
Jockey Sonny Leon guided Rich Strike from afar in the 20-horse field to race by favorite Epicenter and Zandon. Rich Strike charged down the stretch to pass the leaders and complete the 1¼ mile in 2:02.61.
Rich Strike wasn’t even in the Derby field until Friday when Ethereal Road was taken out, making way for the colt trained by Eric Reed. Leon and Reed were both at their first Derby.
Apart from the stunning winner, for the Kentucky Derby it was a return to normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 the race was pushed back to September whereas it was held in 2021 in front of a small crowd.
There were no such restrictions this year as fans returned to Churchill Downs in droves despite an overcast 58 degrees.
But it wasn’t quite a normal Derby Day. Bob Baffert, the trainer who won the race six times, was barred from taking part after Medina Spirit – who would have been his record seventh winner – tested positive for the anti-inflammatory betamethasone eight days after the race. race last year.
A months-long legal battle has, for now, upheld the two-year suspension Churchill imposed on Baffert in addition to Medina Spirit’s disqualification. Two horses who started their careers with Baffert, Taiba and Messier, have been transferred to the stable of former Baffert assistant Tim Yakteen, who had never started a horse in the Derby until Saturday.
But Taiba and Messier, who finished 1-2 in the Santa Anita Derby, were backed by bettors and made the race’s second and third picks at odds of 5-1 and 6-1, respectively.
Taiba is owned by Amr Zedan, who also campaigned for Medina Spirit.
Contributor: Associated Press