Who won the Kentucky Derby 2022? Rich Strike won the race


2022 Kentucky Derby coverage

Click below to view more content from the Lexington Herald-Leader and covering the 148th Kentucky Derby on May 7 at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

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Rich Strike pulled off one of the biggest Kentucky Derby upsets in history, running down the favorites in the stretch to win Saturday at Churchill Downs as one of the race’s longest shots of all time.

Going off at 80-1 odds, Rich Strike came from the back of the 20-horse field under a ride from Derby rookie Sonny Leon to finish three-quarters of a length in front of 4-1 favorite Epicenter. Morning-line favorite Zandon was third, with Simplification fourth and Mo Donegal fifth.

Rich Strike wasn’t even in the Kentucky Derby field until Friday morning, when Ethereal Road scratched out of the race in the final hour, opening up a spot for the first “also-eligible.”

That was Rich Strike, who had just one victory in seven previous starts and hadn’t finished any better than third in any of his races this year.

In the winner’s circle, trainer Eric Reed told NBC Sports, “We’re not supposed to be here!”

His last start was a third-place showing behind Derby also-rans Tiz the Bomb and Tawny Port in the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park. All three of his starts in 2022 had been over the synthetic racing surface at Turfway. His only previous victory came in a maiden race at Churchill Downs on Sept. 17.

Rich Strike is trained by Reed, who had his first Kentucky Derby starter Saturday evening. Reed lost 23 horses in a fire at the Mercury Equine Center in Lexington in 2016. The 2022 Derby winner was bred at Calumet Farm and is the son of Keen Ice, who was the only horse to defeat American Pharoah in the Triple Crown winner’s 3-year-old season.

Rich Strike is owned RED TR-Racing, which is run by Oklahoma native Rick Dawson.

At 80-1, he was the second biggest long-shot winner in Kentucky Derby history. Only Donerail, who won at 91-1 odds in 1913, went off at a higher price. The next three biggest long-shot winners have all come in the past two decades: Country House (60-1 in 2019), Mine That Bird (50-1 in 2009) and Giacomo (50-1 in 2005).

A horse with a come-from-behind style in his previous races, Rich Strike benefited from one of the hottest early paces in Kentucky Derby history to rally for the victory. He paid $163.60 to win, $74.20 to place and $29.40 to show.

Epicenter returned $7.40 and $5.20. Zandon delivered $5.60 to show.

The complete order of finish behind the top three was Simplification, Mo Donegal, Barber Road, Tawny Port, Smile Happy, Tiz the Bomb, Zozos, Classic Causeway, Taiba, Crown Pride, Happy Jack, Messier, White Abarrio, Charge It, Cyberknife, Pioneer of Medina and Summer Is Tomorrow.

This story was originally published May 7, 2022 5:25 PM.

Ben Roberts covers UK basketball, football, horse racing and other sports for the Lexington Herald-Leader and has specialized in UK basketball recruiting for the past several years. He also maintains the Next Cats recruiting blog, which features the latest news on the Wildcats’ recruiting efforts.
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Cameron Drummond works as a sports reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader with a focus on the University of Kentucky women’s basketball program, in addition to other college, high school and professional sports in the area. Drummond is a first-generation American who was born and raised in Texas, before graduating from Indiana University in 2020. He is a fluent Spanish speaker who previously worked as a community news reporter for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper in Austin, Texas.

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