The biggest underdog at the 2022 Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike, stunned the racing world on Saturday to win the 147th edition of the legendary race.
Heading into the week, Rick Strike was not even in this year’s race. The horse was a first alternate and was added to the Kentucky Derby on Friday after Ethereal Road was forced to drop out. That one moment, which went mostly unnoticed in the media and for many fans, ended up setting up history.
Rich Strike stuns Epicenter at Kentucky Derby
Before the mile-long race began, Zaiba and Epicenter seemed to be two popular picks for many inside the horse racing and betting communities. As the race unfolded, Summer is Tomorrow, Charge It, and Japanese champion Crown Pride moved towards the front of the pack. However, slowly but surely Epicenter — trained by racing legend Steve Asmussen — started working towards the lead.
As the horses came around the final turn at Churchhill Down, Epicenter was leading. However as they worked down the home stretch, Zandon — the favorite until race day — came up fast and it seemed like the Kentucky Derby was down to a two-horse race. Then everything quickly changed.
As Epicenter and Zandon started to close in on the finish line, the 80-1 underdog blasted out of nowhere and ended up overtaking two of the best three-year-old horses on the planet. When all was said and done, the horse that owner Sonny Leon purchased for a measly $30,000 almost won the race by full horse length. Epicenter finished second and Zandon third.
While Rich Strike won’t go down as the biggest underdog ever to win the Derby, the horse was pretty close. The Eric Reed trained thoroughbred who entered the race the day before was the second-biggest underdog to enter the winner’s circle at the end of the yearly tradition.
Rich Strike likely will not be a favorite going into the next leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, but the opportunity to shock the world a second time will be a major narrative in two weeks.