CRAWFORD | The morning after Derby stunner, Rich Strike and team still basking in the glow | Derby 148

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – They cannot let you know it used to be only a dream in the event you by no means go to sleep. The solar rose brightly on Barn No. 17 at Churchill Downs Sunday morning, however it by no means set at the shocking Kentucky Derby victory of the night prior to for 80-1 lengthy shot Rich Strike, his teacher Eric Reed, or the workforce in the back of him.

“I haven’t slept yet,” Reed mentioned Sunday. “I thought I would, but I couldn’t. But it’s sinking in now. I’m so proud of this horse and all my guys. My jockey (Sonny Leon). It was a team effort from a long time ago. We were just trying to get here. It just went a step further than we ever could’ve dreamed. I don’t know what to say other than it’s an absolute miracle.”

Reed mentioned that Rich Strike got here clear of his 2nd occupation victory neatly, had eaten neatly and proven no unwell results from the longest race of his occupation. If all continues to move neatly, he mentioned he plans to take the colt to Pimlico.

In the period in-between, Rich Strike headed again to Reed’s Mercury Farm in Lexington later Sunday morning and can keep there no less than every week, the place Reed has a non-public coaching monitor.

The colt, led via groom Jerry Dixon Jr., walked the shed row then emerged from the barn alert and calm. Dixon soothed him together with his arms.

Rich Strike and groom

Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike and groom Jerry Dixon Jr. the morning after the race at teacher Eric Reed’s Churchill Downs barn. (Eric Crawford picture)

Reed mentioned one of the crucial easiest issues about attending to run within the Derby used to be a possibility to provide his complete barn workforce the revel in of taking a colt over. It seems, he gave them much more than that.

“I’m happy for my crew,” he mentioned. “Those guys have gone to the smallest tracks. They’ve worked in conditions after our accident and storm years ago that most people would have never wanted to do again. They put in the hard time without ever getting a pat on the back from anybody but myself. You know, we don’t have the big horses that this happens to. So I was so proud when they got to make the walk yesterday. To me that fulfilled the bucket list for my gang, and they were going to get to make the walk that they watch everybody else do every year. And matter of fact, I told one of them, ‘Look at that crowd. Usually, we’re up there watching them. And this year, they’re watching you.’ So a lot of this was for them.”

Dixon is a fourth technology horseman, and has labored for Reed for a number of years.

“He’s slept, he’ll get two shavings bags and he’ll just sleep there,” Reed mentioned. “He wouldn’t leave the horse. He deserves this. He’s worked hard his whole life.”

When Dixon wasn’t tending to the pony, Sid Scott, Reed’s retired assistant teacher, used to be preserving him, whispering to him. Both males obviously have some way of calming the colt.

“Sid’s an excellent horseman,” Reed mentioned. “When I was 18, got my license and I was in my first string of horses, he was working on the back side. They didn’t pay him one Friday, and we were starving to death, and I said, ‘Don’t worry, you come to work for me.’ And we’re like best friends ever since. We learned this business together and cut our teeth together.

Rich Strike and assistant trainer

Sid Scott, a retired assistant teacher for Rich Strike’s teacher Eric Reed, rubs the colt’s hair on Sunday morning.

“I told him last night, ‘I remember when we were in the Wildwood Motor Inn efficiency, and him sleeping on the floor, and every other day I would take the floor.’ It was a gravity house, so when you walked, the foundation sloped, and we were falling over. I mean, we had a little mouse to eat the m&m’s off the countertop. You know, we had baloney and peanut butter. And now here we are.”

The query now’s, how some distance can Rich Strike take them?

“He ate all his dinner,” Reed mentioned. “And he was bright-eyed last night after the race when I got over here, finally. He was in there eating and everybody was still having a great time. And he seems really good this morning. So we’ll see how he is the next day or two. But every time we’ve run him he’s gained weight after a race. So I know we’ve never gotten to the bottom of him, and watching how he went after that pony after the race, I don’t think we got to the bottom of him yesterday, either.”

A just right many of us, in particular those that do not paintings a lot with horses or who do not watch a large number of horse racing, did not perceive a Churchill Downs outrider’s tough movements with Rich Strike as he attempted to deliver him underneath regulate after the race, however won’t have noticed him biting on the neck of the outrider’s pony (and he did, certainly, minimize the pony.) Churchill’s outriders have stored numerous horses through the years, and in a case like one on Saturday, every so often must get bodily to type the animals out to stay them from hurting themselves or every other horse.

Either means, Reed mentioned Rich Strike is not an competitive animal via nature. But he has evolved a competitiveness over his previous couple of races.

“Yeah, he’s a kind horse,” Reed mentioned. “And I just think, you know, he learned the killer instinct two races ago. Sonny got off him and told me, ‘He’s got the fire now. He wants to run them down or run over them.’ And I think when that race (the Derby) was over, he saw the pony and thought he had another horse to beat and when that guy grabbed him, he was like, ‘I’m supposed to run by you let me go.’ Yeah, I don’t think he meant it the way that some people thought, like being aggressive. I think he was just clicking and needed to outrun that one too.”

Rich Strike

Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike at teacher Eric Reed’s Churchill Downs barn the morning after the race. (Eric Crawford picture)

Reed mentioned he had watched the replay of Saturday’s race most effective two times, and did not listen a race name of it till nighttime or so. Upon overview, he gave credit score to Leon, who rode him completely in a race that had to pass completely for him to win.

“He trained good enough to win that race all week long,” Reed mentioned. “We didn’t think that was going to happen, but we knew if it did that we wouldn’t be shocked – well, we would be shocked . . . Everything went right for him to win. It was a crazy pace. Then at the quarter pole the waters parted for him to get through, then he just had to get by that one horse in the middle of the stretch and Sonny rode him like he has ridden him every race, he was patient. He knew that to get any piece of it he had to save ground. I saw the move at the quarter pole and I told my father, actually, ‘That might get us on the board.’ And in deep stretch, I said, ‘Oh my gosh.’ And I fell down. I didn’t see him hit the finish line. . . . It was a great ride by Sonny, and it had to go that way.”

Reed, as chances are you’ll be expecting, spent the night time responding to congratulations from all over the place. Calumet Farm, which bred the colt and owned him till Dawson and Reed claimed him, reached out.

“All my friends drank a whole lot. I didn’t. I don’t drink,” Reed mentioned. “But I said a little prayer. Got a lot of nice texts from my children. You know, my wife (Kay), she’s my secret weapon and back there at the barn. She doesn’t like the press so she hid from you all yesterday after the race. And she’s at the farm with the other hundred horses right now making sure they’re getting fed and taken care of and working her tail off. I didn’t give her enough credit yesterday, but I didn’t have a chance to so i want to make sure she gets some credit today.”

And now it is off to Pimlico and the Preakness. Reed mentioned he likes to move slowly together with his horses. He works them possibly each and every 12 days or so, as an alternative of each and every week. He usually would not run him again in two weeks, however that is the Triple Crown agenda, and he and proprietor Rick Dawson intend to persist with it. They have in brief talked technique. They at the beginning idea they might take a look at the Belmont Stakes, considering the mile and a 1/2 would swimsuit their colt. Now they’ve an additional date, in Baltimore.

Reed mentioned he hasn’t ever raced at Pimlico, by no means even been there. He has about 100 horses at his Mercury Farm and Training Center in Lexington and extra in Ohio. They essentially send out and race in six states.

“I don’t like running quick,” Reed mentioned. “This will be the first time we’ve had to do that if this is where it goes. But that’s why he’s been so fresh and getting better each race. We haven’t we haven’t pushed on him. I don’t get these horses, 10 or 12 in your life, I get one in a lifetime so I’ve got to protect him. I’d like him to be here in a couple of years and not just have a few races and have something go wrong.”

But Reed mentioned the Preakness would be the plan.

“Absolutely. Should be that way,” Reed mentioned. “. . . So we’ll make the call, but that’s probably what we’ll do.”

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