Friday morning, Rich Strike wasn’t entered in the Kentucky Derby. Saturday evening, the 80-1 long shot was a Derby champion.
The 148th Kentucky Derby went off under gray skies on a track that wasn’t nearly as soaked as conditions had forecast, and for almost all of the race the favorites ran as predicted. But in the final few paces, jockey Sonny Leon cut Rich Strike to the inside to beat two favorites, Zandon and Epicenter, to win the race. Rich Strike, entered only when Ethereal Road scratched out Friday morning, is one of the longest-odds horses ever to win the race. Epicenter placed second, and Zandon finished third.
Rich Strike was in 17th position into the final turn, and began accelerating through the pack, moving to the inside as the race entered the front stretch. As Zandon and Epicenter battled for the lead, Rich Strike streaked along the rail to claim victory. The horses raced out to the fastest quarter mile in the race’s 148-year history, and that quick start may have contributed to the last-second fade of the leaders.
Rick Dawson, owner of Rich Strike, found out his horse would be running in the Derby about 30 seconds before the Friday morning entry deadline. Ethereal Road’s scratch opened the door for Rich Strike, whose owner and trainer had already made plans to begin training this weekend in New York for the Belmont Stakes. It’s safe to say those plans have changed.
“We always felt if we could just get in, we’d have a shot,” Dawson said. “We proved it today.” Rich Strike collected a purse payout of $1.86 million for the victory.
Rich Strike’s victory was the greatest odds upset since 1913, when 91-1 long shot Donerail claimed victory. Whether unaccustomed to victory or charged up from the atmosphere, Rich Strike began nipping at the escort pony after the race, adding even more chaos to a scene already rampant with madness.
Source: Yahoo News