BOZICH | Rich Strike’s Derby win more improbable today than it was Saturday | Derby 148

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — In the closing 5 races Rich Strike ran sooner than successful the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, the colt was once by no means within the lead at any level of any race.

He completed 3rd, 5th, 3rd, fourth and 3rd, overwhelmed by way of a mean of just about six lengths. The closing time Rich Strike led in any race was once 232 days in the past.

In the colt’s closing two races — at Turfway Park — Rich Strike was once overwhelmed decisively by way of Tiz the Bomb, who’s skilled by way of Kenny McPeek. On Saturday, Rich Strike received the Derby. Tiz the Bomb completed 9th, just about 13 lengths again.

If anyone may just provide an explanation for the remarkably entertaining absurdity of what took place Saturday at Churchill Downs, I made up our minds McPeek needed to be the fellow.

“(Rich Strike) had a very good work at Churchill last week,” McPeek stated.

There had been 19 different horses that had excellent works at Churchill closing week. I wished extra.

“Well, that colt obviously loves the track at Churchill,” McPeek stated. “He won by 17 lengths his last race here.”

Agreed. But I nonetheless wanted extra. Rich Strike received at 80-1, the second one largest lengthy shot in Derby historical past.

“I didn’t see that coming,” McPeek stated. “When I saw the finish, my first thought was, ‘That’s interesting.’

“And then I was just so happy for (winning trainer) Eric Reed. I’ve grown up with him in the game (racing at Turfway Park) and he’s just a good, old school horseman. He’s never had this kind of horse before. He picks his spots and his horses run well.

“It’s horse racing.”

Less than 48 hours after Rich Strike received Derby 148, the tale of the successful horse and his connections reads extra outlandish these days than it did at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. You couldn’t take this script to Hollywood. They’d throw it again.

Kentucky Derby winners are anticipated to put up no less than one Beyer Speed determine of 100 (or just about it) sooner than the primary Saturday in May. Rich Strike by no means speedy sufficient to earn a Beyer higher than 84.

The street to the Kentucky Derby is meant to run thru Santa Anita, Oaklawn, Gulfstream, Keeneland, Aqueduct or the Fairgrounds.

As a 3-year-old, Rich Strike ran all of his prep races at Turfway Park. He was once 26-1 in his ultimate pre-Derby race — the Jeff Ruby Steaks — on April 2. He completed 3rd to Tiz the Bomb and Tawny Port, colts that completed 9th and 7th Saturday.

One Derby horse (Taiba) was once bought for $1.7 million. Messier went for $470,000. Tawny Port price $430,000, one in every of seven Derby starters bought for no less than $250,000.

When Rich Strike surged into the lead within the ultimate 16th of a mile Saturday, he overtook one colt (Epicenter) that bought for $260,000 and every other (Zandon) bought for $170,000.

Rich Strike was once claimed for $30,000 on an afternoon when the 2-year-old colt was once the 10-1 fourth making a bet selection at Churchill Downs. That was once every other McPeek connection. McPeek skilled Loonshot, who completed 2nd and was once now not claimed.

“(Rich Strike) ran out of the screen that day,” McPeek stated. “But he wasn’t the favorite. (Paynt Your Wagon was). I’m not sure what prompted Eric to claim him. But, again, good for Eric Reed. He deserves this.”

Calumet Farm, the Lexington horse operation that bred Derby winners like Whirlaway (1941), Citation (1948) and Tim Tam (1958), it seems that didn’t be expecting greatness from the colt.

Reed and proprietor Rick Dawson stated they claimed the colt as a result of a string of great exercises Rich Strike delivered sooner than the colt received by way of 17 1/2 lengths at Churchill Downs that day: Sept. 17, 2021.

Rich Strike is going into the books as the one horse to win the Derby who was once claimed. Charismatic, the 1999 Derby winner, handed thru a $62,500 claimer in California as a 2-year-old with out anyone putting in place bid.

How did it occur?

Rich Strike benefited from the absurdly speedy early fractions — 21.78 for the primary quarter mile, 45:36 after a part mile and 1:10.34 for three-quarters.

Let the report display that the fractions for the primary 3 calls within the 2021 Derby had been 23:09, 46.70 and 1:11.21. It was once the quickest Derby part mile since 2016 and the quickest opening quarter ever.

Jockey Sonny Leon delivered the artful, affected person and brave Derby experience very similar to the only we noticed from Calvin Borel when he scored his magical disenchanted aboard Mine That Bird in 2009. Leon took a right away trail from the No. 20 put up place towards the rail, stayed deep within the pack for the primary three-quarters of a mile after which made a sequence of marvelous strikes, weaving in and round drained horses.

By the time jockeys Joel Rosario (on Epicenter) and Flavien Prat (Zandon) discovered what was once taking place, it was once over.

And the pony on a five-race shedding streak — who had by no means run a horny Beyer Speed determine, who prepped at Turfway Park and was once claimed for $30,000 — received the Kentucky Derby.

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