Rich Strike gets to the finish line and beats the odds with jockey Sonny Leon at the 148th Kentucky Derby on Sat May 7, 2022 ( photo by Michael Clevenger and Christopher Granger Courier Journal)
By Jessica Kwong
The 80-1 long shot, Rich Strike, won the 148th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
The favorites of the race appeared to be on their way to win, but in the final few paces, Rich Strike raced inside and overtook Epicenter and Zandon. Epicenter took second, and Zandon came in third.
Into the last turn, Rich Strike was trailing in the 17th position. But as Epicenter and Zandon competed for the lead, Rich Strike ran by the rail and sailed to victory. Rich Strike is one of the longest-odds horses to win the Kentucky Derby.
“I about fell down in the paddock when he hit the wire,” Rich Strike’s owner Dawson said. “I about passed out.”
Rich Strike would not even have raced in the Derby, had it not been for Ethereal Road’s scratch just before the entry deadline on Friday morning.
“We found out about 30 seconds before the deadline on Friday,” Dawson said. “It put us in the race and really we always felt if we just got in we’ve got a shot.”
Dawson was preparing to train for the Belmont Stakes – but things took an unexpected turn for the best.
“We proved it today,” Dawson said.
Rich Strike’s win was the biggest odds upset since 1913, when 91-1 long shot Donerail became the champion. He earned $1.86 million for his second career victory. It was trainer Eric Reed’s first Derby horse.
The Derby field looked very different than it has for many years, notably because of trainer Bob Baffert’s absence. The six-time Derby winner is serving a two-year suspension since his horse Medina Spirit tested positive for a prohibited substance. Medina Spirit’s victory was stripped. Two of Baffert’s former horses competed: Messier and Taiba.
The Kentucky Derby is first of this year’s Triple Crown. Next is the Preakness Stakes on May 21, and finally, the Belmont Stakes on June 11.