Rich Strike pulls off stunning Kentucky Derby victory after starting the week not even in the race

Rich Strike pulls off stunning Kentucky Derby victory after starting the week not even in the race
Sonny Leon celebrates after riding Rich Strike past the finish line to win the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby.AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
  • Rich Strike won the 148th Kentucky Derby in a stunning upset.
  • Rich Strike went off as an 80/1 long shot, but closed on the field in the final stretch to win the roses.

Anything can happen in horse racing, and on Saturday, three-year-old colt Rich Strike proved it at the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby.

At the start of the week, Rich Strike wasn't even in the field for the race, technically wearing No. 21 as the first replacement to enter the field should another horse scratch.

On Friday morning, Ethereal Road, who was set to race from the 20th gate, withdrew from the race, giving Rich Strike an unexpected shot in the field.

"They just got through informing me; we'd already made plans to work tomorrow and were going to head to the Peter Pan (Stakes, G3)," trainer Eric Reed said after learning they'd made it into the race. "They're giving me CPR right now."

If Reed needed CPR after making the field, one hopes there were medical professionals surrounding him as the race entered the homestretch on Saturday.


Rich Strike started in the far outside gate but was able to maneuver towards the rail with relative comfort through the crowded field over the first half of the race. As the leaders carried on a blistering pace, jockey Sonny Leon kept Rich Strike close enough to the front.

As the race carried through the final turn, Leon and Rich Strike made their move, hitting the afterburners on a run up the inside post to pass Epicenter and Zandon who had appeared to be battling alone for the win.

Rich Strike caught them, and left them in the dust.

Closing at 80/1 odds, Rich Strike is the second biggest long shot to ever win the Kentucky Derby.

A $1 bet on the winning trifecta — 21/3/10 — would have netted a lucky bettor nearly $15,000.


With the win, Rich Strike heads to the Preakness Stakes with a shot at winning the Triple Crown.

It's a long shot, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for this horse.