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Kentucky Derby-winning longshot Rich Strike began career at Ellis Park

Next stop for Rich Strike is the Preakness Stakes
Rich Strike (21), with Sonny Leon aboard, leads Epicenter (3), with Joel Rosario aboard, and...
Rich Strike (21), with Sonny Leon aboard, leads Epicenter (3), with Joel Rosario aboard, and Zandon (10), with Flavien Prat aboard, down the straightaway to win the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)(Mark Humphrey | AP)
Published: May. 8, 2022 at 11:28 PM CDT
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HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - Kentucky Derby 148 will go down as one of the most memorable editions of the Run for the Roses in the race’s long, storied history.

80-to-1 longshot Rich Strike pulled off an improbable upset win as he passed the favorites, Epicenter and Zandon, in the final furlong to stun the world of horse racing.

What’s more, Rich Strike almost never ran in the Derby, as it took a Friday morning scratch of Ethereal Road for Rich Strike to even draw into the field.

Meanwhile, Rich Strike actually began his career at Ellis Park last summer, where he finished dead last in a maiden race on the turf, and he’s certainly come a long way since then.

“He started off there (at Ellis Park), and you know, I guess it’s my fortune that it was on the turf and he must not have liked it, because we wouldn’t have him if it wasn’t for that,” said Rich Strike’s trainer Eric Reed, who had seen the Derby winner’s impressive works at Ellis Park as a 2-year old last summer. “Fantastic works, and the connections are good. Joey Sharp’s a good trainer, and he ran him in a maiden special weight. They bet the horse a little bit. I think he was 4 or 5-1, so the barn thought he could run and his works looked like he could run and when you see him, he’s just a specimen of a horse. So, it was a big gamble, that it was the turf that made him run poorly, and we got lucky.”

Rich Strike’s connections say the plan is to ship the horse to Baltimore in a few days to run in the Preakness Stakes on May 21.

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