Kentucky Derby Sees Upset Winner
If you are someone that tends to keep up with the latest sports news, there are only a few times a year that horse racing is even mentioned. The Kentucky Derby is the biggest horse racing event of the year, and the 2022 edition of the race was one of the best of all-time.
Rich Strike won the 148th version of the Kentucky Derby, and that horse wasn’t even expected to be in the field until a day before the race. The victory from Rich Strike will go down as one of the biggest upsets in Kentucky Derby history.
Rich Strike was an 80-1 longshot entering the Derby, making him the second largest longshot to ever win the historic race. The final margin of victory was three-quarters of a length, and Rich Strike didn’t take the lead until making a stunning charge down the home stretch.
Epicenter and Zandon spent much of the race running at the top, and those two horses were both expected to contend. That battle continued through the finish line, but the battle ended up being for second place.
Rich Strike was only able to join the Kentucky Derby field after Ethereal Road was removed from the race by trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Even after joining the field, not much was thought of Rich Strike as the horse had just two previous wins in his career.
Sonny Leon was the jockey that was atop Rich Strike for the running of the legendary race, and this was the first time that he ever road at the Kentucky Derby. Eric Reed is the trainer of Rich Strike, and this was also his first ever run at Churchill Downs.
Reed nearly got out of the horse training business five years ago when a barn fire claimed the lives of more than 20 of his horses. Both Reed and Leon agreed that Rich Strike should have been a big underdog entering the race, but they also believed that their horse had a chance to win.
Secret Oath Takes Kentucky Oaks
It was an interesting weekend for trainer D. Wayne Lukas as he went from celebrating to despair on Friday. Right before Lukas made the decision to remove Ethereal Road from the Kentucky Derby, one of his trained horses won the Kentucky Oaks.
The Kentucky Oaks takes place every year on the Friday before the big race, and this is another massive race on the circuit. Secret Oath came from the back of the pack to win the Kentucky Oaks in almost an identical race as what Rich Strike ran.
This win was almost as surprising as the win from Rich Strike as Secret Oath had just run a disappointing race at the Arkansas Derby. Nest was the favorite at the Kentucky Oaks, and that horse made one final charge, but the effort came up just a bit short.
The win by Secret Oath is the fifth career victory for trainer Lukas, but it was the first victory since 1990. Lukas trained horses that won this event three different times during the 1980s.
Baffert Still Fighting Back
There was one big name missing from the 2022 Kentucky Derby as trainer Bob Baffert was banned from Churchill Downs. Baffert received the ban after his horse, Medina Spirit, was stripped of the 2021 race after testing positive for a banned substance.
Baffert won’t be in attendance at the next two races on the Triple Crown circuit either, but the Hall of Fame trainer continues to fight back. His team has continued to appeal the decision from Churchill Downs, but he has yet to put together a winning argument.
Medina Spirit was found to have betamethasone in his system after he was tested following the 2021 victory. The Kentucky Derby crown was ultimately stripped earlier this year, and that decision also kept Baffert from participating in the event this year.
Baffert has continued to argue that it was a simple ointment that was given to the horse, and cannot understand why the ban hasn’t been lifted. Not only is Baffert banned from the biggest races, but he is essentially out of racing completely at this point.
Medina Spirit suffered a heart attack during a workout on December 6 of 2021 and died from that event.