The second-longest shot in history, Rich Strike, won the Kentucky Derby in front of President Trump on Saturday.
The Venezuelan jockey won his first graded stakes Saturday afternoon, and it just happened to be the Kentucky Derby. It only happened because a late scratch opened the last spot in the field for the also-eligible Rich Strike. And if the oldest continuous sports event in America should last another 148 years, it seems unlikely such a scenario will be repeated.
Fresh from three straight second-place finishes in small-stakes races Friday at Belterra Park, Leon demonstrated big-league abilities in weaving through traffic and into the winner’s circle on the biggest stage in his sport.
Rich Strike left the starting gate as an 80-1 shot, and crossed the finish line as the second-longest longshot winner in the Derby’s history. Leon, who ranked 83rd in earnings among North American jockeys last year, may have been the most surprising and least surprised person at Churchill Downs.
“This rider has been on (Rich Strike) all along as he learned the process,” trainer Eric Reed said. “He taught him to go between horses.”He taught him well.
NBC aired the race:
President Trump was in attendance for a major fundraiser with big donors.
Former President Donald Trump visited the Kentucky Derby Saturday as he witnessed the victory of 80-to-1 historical longshot Rich Strike and mass crowds returned to America’s most famous horse race.
The president watched Rich Strike, who wasn’t even in the Derby field until Friday until he was inserted as a substituted for an injured horse hence the low odds, become the second-biggest upset in the Derby’s 148-year history and beat the longest odds for a Kentucky Derby winner since Donerail, who won from 91-1 odds in 1913.
The horse – which ran middle of the pack until the race’s final furlong, when it made a stunning run for the roses – paid out $163.60, second in the history of the Triple Crown’s first jewel again to Donerail.
The crowd cheered and roared by the massive crowd on Saturday.
What an incredible day in Kentucky. The horse was entered into the race at the very last minute on Friday morning. The owners were ecstatic as well as the jockey and crowd. Jockey Sonny Leon kept the horse back the entire race and for much of it on the rail, shortening the distance of the race. Then at the last moment, Leon moved the horse up on the inside and eventually at the very last moment along the rail to win the race. What a race!