Legendary jockey Lester Piggott dies aged 86
Rich Strike’s winning owner asked “What planet is this?” after the 80/1 shot produced one of the Kentucky Derby’s biggest shocks at Churchill Downs.
Rich Strike was only added to the 20-horse field on the eve of one of the most prestigious races in the world after the withdrawal of Ethereal Road and became the biggest hit by far.
Bought for just $30,000 last October and with just one win in seven outings, the ranked underdog was to be raced as well.
Yet Rich Strike, trained by Eric Reed, raced inside with a searing flurry under Sonny Leon to become the second most expensive winner in Kentucky Derby history.
Rick Dawson, owner of Rich Strike, couldn’t believe what he saw as a massive crowd of 147,294 gasped for breath from a jaw-dropping surprise.
“What planet is it? I feel like I got kicked off somewhere. I’m not sure,” Dawson told Bloodhorse.
“It’s amazing. I asked my coach to come on stage, I said, ‘Are you sure this isn’t a dream? Because it can’t be true.’ He assured me it was real.”
Coach Reed was also in dreamland after such an unlikely success on the big stage.
“I do not know how [to put the win into words]”, said Reed. “I fell in the paddock when he hit the wire. I almost fainted. I am so happy.
“That’s something, you know, that’s why everybody does that, because we’re not supposed to be here, but I knew that horse loved the track, and we trained so well. all year.”
Jockey Leon wasn’t entirely surprised as he stalked his way across the field to cross the line first.
“I didn’t know if he could win but I had a good feeling with him,” Leon told Bloodhorse. “I had to wait for the stretch, and that’s what I did. I waited, and then the rail opened up.
“I wasn’t nervous. I was excited. Nobody knows my horse like I know my horse.”