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Something Wonderful: Rich Strike Strikes It Rich with 57 Seconds of Horse Racing History

This great moment is in from A mindboggling Kentucky Derby upset – The New Neo who says: “I’m sorry I didn’t see long long longshot Rich Strike win the Kentucky Derby live, but fortunately we’ve got all kinds of videos.”

Me too. I suggest full screen to see how the jockey and Rich Strike thread their way for a win so sudden that the announcers almost didn’t see it.

Rich Strike, the longest shot on the board at 80-1, pulls off one of the biggest shockers in Derby history. He wasn’t even in the field before drawing in with a scratch on Friday.

Size of Purse? $1,860,000 
Cost of Horse? The owners bought Rich Strike last August for $30,000

In the race you can see jockey Leon moving Rich Strike quickly toward the rail from the outside gate, saving ground and biding his time in the 1 ¼-mile race. With the early leaders setting a record pace, Leon moved right between horses and around tiring traffic, then back along the rail into stalking position. “You know we had a difficult post but I know the horse,” Leon said. “I didn’t know if he could win but I had a good feeling with him. I had to wait until 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.

“I started to push just a little bit, you know, because (Rich Strike) is a little bit lazy. And at the rail, I was so close, like seven lengths behind the leader. I said, ‘I got a shot.’”

Joel Rosario, aboard Epicenter, thought he had the race won when Leon passed him on the inside in the stretch run. Epicenter’s Hall of Fame trainer, Steve Asmussen, could scarcely believe how he had lost the prize that continues to elude him. “I got beat by the horse that just got in,” he said.

After the jump, the full race called from the gate. Plus one stupefied owner and one ecstatic trainer.

And then there’s the trainer. . .

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Terry May 11, 2022, 2:06 PM

    My luck. Went to click on horse race and it disappeared.

    • gwbnyc May 11, 2022, 2:25 PM

      I got it.

  • Callmelennie May 11, 2022, 4:02 PM

    Was able to track Rich Strike back to the start of the far turn; he was 14th. At the top of the stretch, he was 10th. The announcers weren’t even aware of him until he was 4 seconds from winning the race.

    I can discern two reasons for this upset. Lead horses set a blistering pace early on and were gassed at the end. Lead horse, Epicenter is completely focused on the horse on his right shoulder and is completely oblivious to horse on his left.

    And give Rich Strike credit; he weaved his way thru the pack like Barry Sanders weaving thru the Green Bay D for a 60 yard TD … He made a great move about 15 seconds from the end where he beat another horse to that inside track to victory

    • Vanderleun May 11, 2022, 4:03 PM

      On the money, Lennie.

      How longshot Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby | ksdk.comHOW DID HE WIN?

      Think of the horses like race cars. There’s a finite amount of fuel in the tank. The faster you burn the fuel, the quicker the tank empties. And that’s exactly what happened in the Kentucky Derby.

      Summer Is Tomorrow was the leader after a quarter-mile, or two furlongs. He covered that distance in 21.78 seconds — the fastest time in Kentucky Derby history. No horse can sustain that pace for 1 1/4 miles. And Summer Is Tomorrow wound up finishing last in the 20-horse field, 64 1/2 lengths behind Rich Strike.

      It wasn’t just Summer Is Tomorrow. Many horses went out on a blistering pace, because so many trainers and jockeys had decided their best move was to get close to the lead for the opening portions of the race.

      The biggest indicator that this was going to be a wild finish probably came when track announcer Larry Collmus briefly stopped his rundown of which horse was where in the field at the half-mile mark. “The opening half-mile was — WHOA! — blazing fast, 45.36 seconds,” Collmus said.

      Those fuel tanks were emptying far faster than anticipated.

      At that half-mile mark, Rich Strike was ahead of only two horses. He was sitting in 18th place.


      Two answers: He ran by some, and some, as they say in racing, stopped running.

      Technically, that last part isn’t true. All 20 horses were “running” when they crossed the finish line. Nobody “stopped.” But some simply ran out of gas, meaning their all-out sprints had become little more than a gallop or a jog.

      Rich Strike had tons of fuel left. He also had one other major advantage: He was near the rail.

      It’s simple math: The closer one is to the rail, the shorter of a distance one has to run. Most of the contending horses as the leaders turned into the stretch and headed home were fanned out wide across the track, moves that made their trips a bit longer.

      This is where Leon had a huge decision to make. He had to get around Messier, one of the early leaders who was fading fast. Leon decided to veer slightly to his right and get around Messier, then dove back down toward the rail to finish Rich Strike’s run. It was almost as if nobody saw him coming.

      They saw him at the end. That’s all that mattered.

  • Kerry May 11, 2022, 6:13 PM

    If my Mom was still alive I think she would have cried with joy and excitement at that win. She loved watching the horse races, and this one was thrilling.

  • Christopher L Hunt May 11, 2022, 7:45 PM

    If that horse had a knife, he would have stabbed his way to victory.

  • hooodathunkit May 11, 2022, 8:47 PM

    Joe Biden got all excited over the race, and invited the Rich Strike team to the White House. They declined, saying if they wanted to look at a horse’s ass they would have come in second.

    • Jerry Miller May 12, 2022, 11:06 AM

      hoodathunkit, I posted that joke on Facebook. They fact-checked it and labeled it: False information in a post that you shared
      May 8, 2022
      Independent fact-checkers reviewed a similar photo and said it was false.
      May 10, 2022
      Facebook determined your post has the same false photo and added a notice to the post.
      People who repeatedly share false information might have their posts moved lower in News Feed so other people are less likely to see them.

      • Vanderleun May 12, 2022, 12:52 PM

        Those assholes at Facebook need to be identified and flossed with a flaming chainsaw. Just to clear their minds.

  • KCK May 11, 2022, 10:58 PM

    Good one, hoodathunkit!

    I love an underdog story, especially when it’s for the win. Nothing succeeds like success.

  • Jack May 12, 2022, 6:52 AM

    When I was young and strong I trained horses for several years and I have an humongous place in my heart for them. All of them and mules and donkeys, too. That said, I’m no big fan of sanctioned racing because I’ve watched too many wonderful horses suffer injury and death on these tracks but I will concede that most of the time when that occurs the track is muddy and the f’ing race should not have been run with the tracks in that condition. But, what the hell is the life and value of a horse when so many hat wearing, half drunk hot females and their squires are out for a bit of fun, eh? When they run’em in those conditions I just wish that I had the power to force the race officials and the demanding owners into jock straps and US Keds shoes and run their asses around that same track with whips cracking over their fat behinds and let severe falls, injuries and heart attacks, etc., come what may.

    So anyway, from the start that horse was a sure bet to win but not in the sense that you might think with an earned reputation. He was permitted to race within minutes of the final moments of approval and his odds were in the stratosphere. If I had it, I’d have bet a Grand on him without batting an eye.

    • ghostsniper May 12, 2022, 1:51 PM

      About 10 years ago my wife had a 40th anniversary high school reunion to attend and I went with her. It was held at this place: https://www.caesars.com/horseshoe-indianapolis?utm_campaign=Google&utm_source=google&utm_medium=local&utm_term=HorseshoeIndianapolis&utm_content=casino

      It was at night time and they were practicing the horses. I was bored with the reunion so I wandered the place and spent a lot of time at the edge of the track watching the horses. The race horse are different than normal horses and it is obvious to see. They are built differently. Longer legs, longer bodies, and much slimmer all over. They are also different in attitude and that is obvious too. You know the feeling when you’ve drank too much coffee? That’s how the race horses seemed. Very jittery and couldn’t stand still. Even when standing still they were moving their legs and looking around, seeming very nervous. The horses were straddling the edge between fight or flight.

      I also walked through the casino. Never been in one before. Dark, but all lit up with colored lights everywhere, flashing one armed bandits, cheering people, all of it. I watched for a few minutes at a blackjack table, then moved on. Though I have a few hundred on me I was not compelled to give any of it away. I have always known that those lavish places exist on the weakness of others and though I have been known to spend money at times on foolish things the games of chance have never been an attraction to me. I found the horses more interesting than the gambling.

      • Snakepit Kansas May 14, 2022, 8:21 AM

        Ghost said “drink too much coffee”. I do not think that is possible.

  • Ambiguousfrog May 12, 2022, 7:28 AM

    Then to chew on your opponent adds insult to injury. He had more left in him. Full of spunk. Which will be worth millions.

  • jiminalaska May 12, 2022, 8:35 AM
    • Vanderleun May 12, 2022, 12:52 PM

      Thanks a bunch. I used the embed from that to patch up this item. You da best, Jim!

  • Nori May 12, 2022, 8:51 AM

    “…weaved his way thru the pack like Barry Sanders weaving thru the Green Bay D for a 60 yd TD…”
    Take a bow,Lennie. Golden comparison.
    Growing old has its drawbacks,but we were blessed to witness Secretariat sprout wings on his feet and fly past the field. Whether you were a Lions fan or not,their games were not to be missed because of Sanders’ ability to leave any defense going WTF?? Where’d he go?? End Zone?!!
    Can anyone in the current NBA come close to what Larry Bird did? He was astonishing.
    I could go on & on. Those athletes of that era,both 2 and 4-legged united the country every weekend in anticipation and sheer delight.
    Congratulations to Rich Strike for that thrilling victory. May you live in green pastures with a lovely harem.
    I quit watching the Derby,Preakness & Belmont when NBC gayed it up so nauseously. Nice to have the video clips without the buffoonery.

    • Vanderleun May 12, 2022, 12:54 PM

      I agree. Every event where people “dress up” now seems to suck in the mentally ill and non-binary confused souls.

      • ghostsniper May 12, 2022, 1:58 PM

        They aren’t confused.
        As you said, they are mentally ill.
        People that go along with their charade are almost as bad.
        All should be publicly horse whipped til their backs run red.

  • mmack May 13, 2022, 4:18 AM

    I watched the race live since we threw a Kentucky Derby party the day of the race. Couldn’t believe it even with seeing it.

    I joked with My Lovely 🥰 Mrs. we should’ve put $2 on Rich Strike’s nose to win. We made out big one year at a different Kentucky Derby party held at a horse racing track when we put a $2 bet and a $5 win/place/show on Mine That Bird at 50:1 and came home with over $100 apiece.

    Rich Strike’s win reminds me of Al Unser Sr’s fourth Indy 500 win in 1987: Driver not entered in the race gets picked up when another driver gets injured and is placed in a car not entered in the race and goes on to win it when the favorites falter.

  • Teri Pittman May 13, 2022, 10:10 AM

    I have watched a few other races with Rich Strike. He likes to run from behind. It’s like he needs that challenge to go all out. But the Kentucky Derby race is so amazing to watch. That last bit, where he turns it on and just smokes the other two horses, is so incredible.