The horse entered the race at 80-1 odds — the biggest long-shot in the 20-horse field. And Rich Strike began the derby week as an alternate and wasn’t added to the field until Friday, when another horse pulled out of the race.
Rich Strike was in the middle of the pack as the horses entered the final stretch, but the horse surged past front-runners and betting favorites Epicenter and Zandon in the final seconds of the race.
Epicenter and Zandon finished in second and third place respectively.
Venezuelan jockey Sonny Leon, riding in his first Kentucky Derby, drove Rich Strike to the surprise victory and the $1.86 million winner’s purse.
“I’m so happy,” trainer Eric Reed said after the race. “This is … the reason everybody does this. Cause we’re not supposed to be here, but I knew this horse loved the track and he’s been training so good all year.”
“Sonny Leon, they know who he is now,” Reed added.
This is Reed’s first winning horse in the derby.
The next leg of the Triple Crown will be run in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 21.
Long-shot Rich Strike wins the 148th Kentucky Derby