By: Gus Wilson
This past weekend, the Kentucky Derby took place in Louisville, Kentucky, at the famous Churchill Downs track. At the 148th annual race, we saw one of the largest upsets of all time, as Rich Strike came back and beat out favorites such as Taiba and Epicenter. A horse that shouldn’t have even been competing in the most important race of the year is now sitting at the top.
“We found out about 30 seconds before the deadline on Friday,” the owner of Rich Strike, Rick Dawson, told reporters after the shocking upset. Hall of Fame horse trainer D. Wayne Lukas scratched his horse Ethereal Road from the final race of the Kentucky Derby. Rich Strike’s trainer Eric Reed exclaimed, “I about passed out.” The surprised reactions didn’t just come from the side of the winning horse, as the remaining trainers. “I got beat by the horse that just got in,” Epicenter’s trainer Steve Asmussen complained. “What a crazy derby,” trainer Kenny McPeek explained. Rich Strike had 80/1 odds before the race kicked off, making it the second-largest underdog to win in the history of the Kentucky Derby.
The race itself was as crazy as trainers, owners, and reporters made it out to be. To start off, Summer is Tomorrow had a commanding lead through the first half of the race, before finishing last overall. Epicenter, Zandon, Simplification, and Mo Donegal looked like they would all be competing for first at the finish line before Epicenter and Zandon pulled ahead. Epicenter and Zandon were neck and neck before Rich Strike maneuvered his way from 16th overall to third before sprinting past Epicenter to upset both horses. The aerial view provided by NBC Sports is the best way to watch the race. You can watch that here.
Rich Strike walked away with $1,860,000 of the $3,000,000 of the purse. On Saturday, May 21, 2022, the 2022 Preakness Stakes will take place, the second part of the Triple Crown of horse races. Rich Strike however will not be competing in Preakness Stakes.