Kentucky Derby shocker as rank outsider Rich Strike wins famous American race

The winner only ran following the withdrawal of Ethereal Road and his jockey Sonny Leon

By Leslie Wilson Jr

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Kentucky Derby website
Kentucky Derby website

Published: Sun 8 May 2022, 6:59 AM

Last updated: Sun 8 May 2022, 7:51 AM

The sport of horse racing has produced many shocking results but perhaps none bigger than what happened on Saturday when rank outsider Rich Strike upstaged a classy field to win the 148th running of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, US.

Sent off at odds of 84/1, Rich Strike, who was a late entry, was delivered from the back of the field to run down favourites Epicentre and Zandon in a dramatic renewal of America's most famous race.

The winner only got into the race on Friday following the withdrawal of Ethereal Road and his jockey Sonny Leon grabbed the opportunity with both hands to shock the world.

Only Donegal in 1913 won the Kentucky Derby at longer odds of 91/1.

This was only Rich Strikes' second win in eight starts and first since he won his maiden at Churchill Downs in September last year for trainer Eric Reed, who was winning the Derby for the first time in his career.

"I don't know how [to put this in words], I fell down the paddock when he hit the wire, I about passed out. I'm so happy," an emotional Reed said.

"This is something that's the reason everybody does this because 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... he gave him the greatest ride I have ever seen," he added.

Reed, who was having his first runner in the Derby, acquired Rich Strike at the bargain price of $30,000 after he won his maiden at Churchill Downs in September.

As the 2,000-metre contest began, Summer Is Tomorrow, runner-up in the UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai in March, hit the front and set strong fractions under Michael Barzalona but his challenge soon petered out.


Messier took over the running as the field entered the home straight as Epicentre and Zandon made their moves.

But even as the leading pair looked to be fighting out the finish, Rich Strike surged through a gap on the inside to win by three-quarters of a length.

Prize money breakdowns for the $3 million race

First place finish: $1.86 million

Second place: $600,000

Third place: $300,000

Fourth place: $150,000

Fifth place finish: $90,000

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