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With favourite Epicenter and Zandon dueling in entrance, Wealthy Strike got here charging up the rail for a shocking 80-1 upset within the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Jockey Sonny Leon guided Wealthy Strike from far again within the 20-horse subject to beat 4-1 favourite Epicenter by three-quarters of a size. Zandon was one other three-quarters of a size again in third at Churchill Downs in entrance of a crowd that included former President Donald Trump.

Kentucky Derby Horse Racing
Wealthy Strike (21), with Sonny Leon aboard, beats Epicenter (3), with Joel Rosario aboard, on the end line to win the 148th operating of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, Might 7, 2022, in Louisville, Ky.

Mark Humphrey / AP

“I about fell down within the paddock when he hit the wire,” successful coach Eric Reed stated. “I about handed out.”

Wealthy Strike triggered the second-biggest upset within the race’s 148-year historical past, paying $163.60 to win. Solely Donerail in 1913 had the next payout of $184.90.

Wealthy Strike ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.61.

After taking a chew out of his a lot costlier competitors, Wealthy Strike playfully chomped the horse that guided him to the winner’s circle.

Wealthy Strike wasn’t even within the Derby subject till Friday when Corridor of Fame coach D. Wayne Lukas scratched Ethereal Highway, making room for the chestnut colt skilled by Eric Reed.

“We came upon about 30 seconds earlier than the deadline on Friday,” Dawson stated. “It put us within the race and actually we all the time felt if we simply bought in we have got a shot.”

Each Leon, from Venezuela, and Reed had been of their first Derby. Leon recurrently rides on small circuits, together with Ohio. Reed endured a tragedy 5 years in the past when he misplaced practically two dozen horses in a barn hearth at his coaching heart in Lexington.

An exercise rider works Kentucky Derby morning-line favorite Zandon during morning workouts at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, May 5, 2022.
An train rider works Kentucky Derby morning-line favourite Zandon throughout morning exercises at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, Might 5, 2022.

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Leon’s rail experience was harking back to jockey Calvin Borel’s stealth transfer aboard Mine That Fowl in 2009. Mine That Fowl sprang what was then the Derby’s third-biggest upset, paying $103.20 to win.

“Once I was within the final 70 yards, I stated, ‘I believe I bought this race,'” Leon stated.

Wealthy Strike was bought by Dawson, who races as RED TR-Racing LLC, for $30,000 final fall when the colt was entered in a low-level claiming race by former proprietor Calumet Farm.

Calumet Farm proprietor Brad Kelley may be ruing that call now. Calumet Farm has gained a document eight Kentucky Derbies, however none since 1968, when Ahead Cross was positioned first by way of disqualification.

Wealthy Strike earned $1.86 million for simply his second profession victory. The colt misplaced to Zandon within the Blue Grass Stakes final month and was crushed by Epicenter within the Louisiana Derby in March.

Simplification completed fourth and Mo Donegal was fifth.

This yr’s race went on with out suspended Corridor of Fame coach Bob Baffert, whom Churchill Downs suspended for 2 years following Medina Spirit‘s failed postrace drug take a look at and eventual disqualification because the winner of final yr’s Derby.

Like different main sporting occasions such because the Tremendous Bowl, Last 4 and Main League Baseball video games are any indication, the environment for the primary jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown had a pre-pandemic really feel, although masks had been non-obligatory.

The 2020 operating was delayed till Labor Day weekend, then held with out spectators. It returned to its acquainted spring slot eight months later in 2021, however with restricted capability.

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