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Articles

Kentucky Derby


2022/06/04


(Photo Courtesy of Kentucky Derby)
The 2022 Kentucky Derby was one of the most exciting Derbies in recent history. The 80-1 odds long shot Rich Strike, deftly piloted by jockey Sonny Leon for trainer Eric R. Reed, came from the back of the pack to overcome the favorites and leaders Epicenter and Zandon, who dueled down the stretch, to win the 148th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday May 7. In fact, the horse was a late entry to the race, only after Ethereal Road was declared out of the race on Friday morning. The chestnut colt ran the second biggest upset in the Derby’s history, second only to Donerail who won in 1913 against 91-1 odds.

The twenty horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby all got off to a good start with Summer Is Tomorrow taking the early lead. Messier was in second, Cyberknife in third, Smile Happy in fourth, and Crown Pride in fifth as they headed to the back stretch. The opening half mile was “blazing fast” at 45.36 seconds, said NBC race caller Larry Collmus.

On the back stretch Summer Is Tomorrow continued the lead with Japan’s Crown Pride moving into second and Messier in third.

Then Epicenter began moving up quickly as Crown Pride took the lead around the far turn, battling with Messier and going stride for stride.

Places changed quickly going into the stretch as Epicenter moved up to take the lead. As they arrived at the final furlong, Epicenter and Zandon went stride-for-stride. But while everyone was focused on the two leaders, Rich Strike was coming up fast on the inside to take the win. “Oh, my goodness! The longest shot has won the Kentucky Derby!” exclaimed NBC’s Collmus.

Coming from the third from last position, Sonny Leon kept steadily moving his horse up, when an opening on the rail on the far turn gave him ample room to run up the rail to catch the leaders. He did have to make a narrow move between two horses just before coming to the rail, but was able to pass the two leaders before the finish line. It was an exciting upset to say the least!

Epicenter finished second and Zandon was third. Early leader Summer Is Tomorrow finished 20th and the Japanese horse, Crown Pride, finished 13th.

Read the full results of the race at: https://www.kentuckyderby.com/horses

What caught a lot of folks’ attention was Rich Strike’s post-race biting behavior. When outrider Greg Blasi on the lead pony came up to get Rich Strike under control after the race, the horse repeatedly bit at Blasi and the lead pony, biting Blasi on the leg. There were several tense moments as Blasi’s horse reared and another outrider brought a lead rope to try to get Rich Strike under control.  Read an interview with trainer Eric Reed about the incident at the Paulick Report at: https://paulickreport.com/news/triple-crown/that-man-saved-my-horse-from-injury-reed-addresses-post-derby-incident-with-rich-strike-outrider/
 

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