UP: The tale of Rich Strike. The 2022 Kentucky Derby produced the modern day model of “Seabiscuit.”
Bred through regal Calumet Farm, Rich Strike had begun his racing profession so inauspiciously that, at the day he received essentially the most prestigious horse race in North America, he would had been eligible for a non-winners-of-two race.
Acquired for $30,000 on Sept. 17, 2021, out of a claiming race at Churchill Downs through present proprietor Richard Dawson’s Red TR-Racing, Rich Strike is now the one horse so got ever to win the Kentucky Derby.
On the day jockey Sonny Leon would produce one of the most masterful rides in Kentucky Derby historical past aboard an 80-1 lengthy shot, he entered the race having didn’t win his prior 11 races whilst using some distance from horse racing’s vibrant lighting fixtures at Cincinnati’s Belterra Park (the previous River Downs).
Before Rich Strike turned into seen as a imaginable Kentucky Derby entrant in April, his Central Kentucky-based teacher, Eric Reed, were so low-profile that his identify had now not gave the impression within the Lexington Herald-Leader since 2016. That was once in a tale about how the pony racing group was once rallying to Reed’s support after a devastating barn fireplace on the teacher’s Mercury Equine Center on Russell Cave Road.
On the day that Dawson, a semi-retired Oklahoma oil guy, noticed Rich Strike win the Run for the Roses, he was once gazing the one energetic racehorse he these days owns compete.
In all my days as a sportswriter, I’ve by no means been in a post-event information convention with extra feel-good vibes than the person who adopted Rich Strike’s unbelievable Derby conquest.
Given the new historical past of the Kentucky Derby, please, please, please, don’t let the rest therefore pop out that tarnishes one of the most golden moments in our state’s sports activities historical past.
DOWN: Steve Asmussen. Before the race, it gave the impression that Epicenter was once the pony who would in spite of everything finish the instructor’s oh-for-Kentucky Derby lifetime standing. It indisputably seemed that manner when Epicenter, the Louisiana Derby champion, seized the lead on the most sensible of the Churchill Downs stretch.
But as an alternative of Asmussen’s first Kentucky Derby win, Rich Strike’s stirring stretch run left Epicenter in 2nd and the instructor — who has 9,743 profession wins general — now 0-for-24 within the Derby.
“I can’t believe it after Epicenter’s effort,” Asmussen mentioned later on. “And, the scenario in which I went 0-for-24, you couldn’t make up. I got beat by the horse that just got in (on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby as an also-eligible entrant).”
UP: D. Wayne Lukas. At age 86, we will have to all get to revel in the type of visibility that Lukas loved at Churchill Downs over Derby weekend.
On Friday, the Lukas-trained filly Secret Oath received the Kentucky Oaks. It gave “The Coach” a record-tying 5th win within the Oaks — however his first since 1990.
Meanwhile, it was once Lukas scratching his Kentucky Derby lengthy shot, Ethereal Road, that allowed Rich Strike to run into historical past.
DOWN: Bob Baffert. For moderate sports activities enthusiasts, the silver-maned teacher is the face of the Kentucky Derby.
So the Churchill Downs transfer to droop Baffert for 2 years from competing on the observe following the failed drug check through erstwhile 2021 Derby winner and Baffert-trained Medina Spirit carried possibility.
Alas, the Baffert-free 2022 Kentucky Derby yielded a gorgeous Cinderella tale.
Meanwhile, Baffert’s former trainees, Taiba and Messier, ran twelfth and fifteenth, respectively, within the Kentucky Derby for teacher Tim Yakteen.
UP: Stretch runners. Before Rich Strike’s surprising ultimate kick, it gave the impression the Kentucky Derby was once becoming an equine model of Formula One auto racing — now not just about sufficient passing for the lead.
Of the 8 earlier horses earlier than 2022 who completed first within the Derby at the observe (now not bearing in mind designated winners increased through bureaucratic discretion or through failed drug assessments), none was once ever deeper within the box than 3rd at any race name.
The 3 horses that crossed the end line first within the Kentucky Derby right away previous to Rich Strike — Maximum Security (2019); Authentic (2020) and Medina Spirit (2021) — every led the race at each and every quarter mile.
Conversely, Rich Strike was once seventeenth out of 20 horses after 1 / 4 mile; 18th at each the half-mile and after three-quarters of a mile poles; and was once nonetheless fifteenth 1 mile into the race.
When teacher Eric Reed mentioned his horse “passed ’em all,” he wasn’t a lot exaggerating.
DOWN: Japan. Japanese horses had been making a stir the world over. Over the previous 12 months, horses from Japan received two Breeders’ Cup races at Del Mar; received 4 of six graded stakes at the Saudi Cup card in Saudi Arabia; and took 5 of 9 Dubai World Cup races.
Alas, Crown Pride, the Japanese bred, may just now not stay the momentum going within the Kentucky Derby, completing thirteenth once you have stuck up in a withering, early velocity duel (which helped created the outlet for a stretch runner).
All-time, 4 horses from Japan have now attempted the Kentucky Derby. Sixth through Master Fencer in 2019 stays the most efficient end through a horse from Japan.