Rich Strike (foaled April 25, 2019) is an American Thoroughbred racehorse who won the Kentucky Derby in 2022 despite being at odds of 80 to 1.
After Donerail (91–1 odds) in 1913, Rich Strike is the second-largest longshot to win the Kentucky Derby. He didn’t enter the race until Ethereal Road was scratched the day before, and Rich Strike was added from Derby’s also-eligible list. Richard Dawson, the owner, learned of the modification 30 seconds before the deadline.
Rich Strike, Winner of The Kentucky Derby, Shock the World Once More by Skipping the Preakness
Eric Reed stood in his clocker’s stand racing office on the turn of the training oval at his farm on the outskirts of town on a sun-drenched bluegrass day. After injuring his back last Saturday—the day he slumped to the ground in the Churchill Downs paddock after winning the Kentucky Derby in a once-in-a-century upset—sitting was not an option. In that overwhelming time, Reed pinched his lower back a lot.
As a result, he stood while conversing with a visitor. “Talk Derby To Me,” read a sign outside the shack, and that’s exactly what Reed did, remembering the glory of Rich Strike winning the Run for the Roses at 80-1 odds.
A bag of chili-cheese Fritos and a few empty drink bottles sat on his desk. To keep the wasps away, there were also bottles of Raid insecticide. “I’m Clint Eastwood with this,” Reed said, grabbing a bottle. “I’m afraid of them without it.”
There were pictures of horses that had won races for him on the walls, as well as a few framed horseshoes and two photos of Donald Trump, who had called him Sunday night after being put in touch by Fox News personality Sean Hannity to congratulate Reed on his miraculous victory.
It’d been a bizarre series of occurrences. Everything was different now. Nothing, however, was actually altered.
The surprise winner of the Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike, will skip the Preakness, forgoing the chance to win a Triple Crown. Rich Strike’s owner said he had decided not to push the horse to run only two weeks after it came out of nowhere to win the Derby. https://t.co/4AQbheOL7s
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 12, 2022
Eric Reed was the same person he was before the first Saturday in May, with the same horse sense. Professional dedication to putting the animals first aided Reed and Rich Strike owner Rick Dawson in making the startling announcement on Thursday: for the first time in 37 years, and one of the few times ever, a healthy Kentucky Derby champion will forgo the Preakness and skip a Triple Crown bid.
It’s a severe setback for a fast-paced sport, putting a heartwarming story on hold at a time when it’s most needed. But these guys choose a different path, one marked by adversity and heartbreak, humiliating defeats, and a lack of fanfare, attention, or adoration.
They arrived at this dream position in thoroughbred racing without any prior experience, connections, or commitments to the politics and alliances of big-time thoroughbred racing. They appeared out of nowhere on the fringes of the sport and stunned the world. Already twice.
How Much Fascination Does the Triple Crown Hold for Someone Who Is a Complete Outsider?
How much of a responsibility do you feel to prop up the elite echelon of racing by maintaining a long-shot quest that isn’t in your horse’s best interests? Not enough to jeopardize the future of the best horse you’ve ever had or will ever own. That’s why they were able to decline an opportunity (and a hard challenge) that nearly no one else would refuse.
Reed told Sports Illustrated on Tuesday that he wasn’t sure what he’d do about the Preakness. He sounded like he was willing to skip the second leg of the Triple, but he couldn’t say it. He indicated the decision would be made after “Ritchie” worked at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a difficult decision,” Reed remarked. “I’ll know on Saturday.” He has to be 120 percent, not 100 percent.”
However, the decision was made on Thursday, when Dawson issued a statement stating that they were out of the Preakness and pointing to the Belmont.
Kathy Guillermo, Senior Vice President of Peta, Issued the Following Statement
“Whipping horses in races is harsh and should be prohibited, but hurting a horse in a frenzy as the crowd screamed is inexcusable.” PETA plans to file a complaint against outrider Greg Blasi, who looked to have struck Rich Strike. Blasi should have let go of the horse until he calmed down, and the lead pony should have been equipped with safety equipment.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) May 8, 2022
Blasi’s brother Scott Blasi works for Epicenter’s trainer, Steve Asmussen, so stewards must wonder if he was upset that the Derby favorite didn’t win. Scott’s frequent outbursts were discovered in a PETA probe of Asmussen in 2013, and he was fined and suspended last year for a “physical altercation.” The Blasi family appears to be lacking in self-control.”
At this time, Churchill Downs has not responded to WAVE News’ request for a statement or an interview.