Long-shot Rich Strike wins the 148th Kentucky Derby


The horse entered the race at 80-1 odds — the biggest long-shot in the 20-horse field. And Rich Strike began the derby week as an alternate and wasn’t added to the field until Friday, when another horse pulled out of the race.

“Out of nowhere, Rich Strike got his roses,” the derby said in a tweet accompanying an image of the horse with the roses around his neck.

Rich Strike was in the middle of the pack as the horses entered the final stretch, but the horse surged past front-runners and betting favorites Epicenter and Zandon in the final seconds of the race.

Epicenter and Zandon finished in second and third place respectively.

Venezuelan jockey Sonny Leon, riding in his first Kentucky Derby, drove Rich Strike to the surprise victory and the $1.86 million winner’s purse.

“I’m so happy,” trainer Eric Reed said after the race. “This is … the reason everybody does this. Cause we’re not supposed to be here, but I knew this horse loved the track and he’s been training so good all year.”

“Sonny Leon, they know who he is now,” Reed added.

This is Reed’s first winning horse in the derby.

Rich Strike is owned by RED TR-Racing, LLC, according to the derby’s website.
Jockey Sonny Leon reacts as Rich Strike wins the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby.
Dubbed the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” — a nod to its approximate run time — the Derby is the first race in US horse racing’s coveted Triple Crown, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

The next leg of the Triple Crown will be run in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 21.

The competition was wide-open this year without trainer Bob Baffert, who was banned from Churchill Downs for two years after Medina Spirit, who crossed the finish line first last year, later tested positive for a banned substance. Baffert claimed an ointment used to treat dermatitis may have caused the positive test.
The initial runner-up in that race, Mandaloun, was announced the winner. Medina Spirit died unexpectedly in December.

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