Syndication: The Courier-Journal - Rich Strike, with Sonny Leon up, runs down the field to win the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7, 2022Derbymsc26 Horse Racing

Rich Strike wins the 2022 Kentucky Derby in a Shocker!

Rich Strike wins the 2022 Kentucky Derby in a Shocker!

May 09
SW Creative
  • SportsWriters

In one of the biggest upsets in Kentucky Derby history, 80-1 long shot Rich Strike, ridden by Sonny Leon, stunned the blue-bloods and passed race-favorite Epicenter with 50 yards to go to win the 148th running of the race by 3/4 lengths on Saturday, May 7, at Churchill Downs. He ran the 1-1/4 miles in 2:02.61 and paid $163.60 on a $2 bet.

The story of Rich Strike seems like it was plucked right out of a movie script because the horse, who was claimed out of a $30,000 race last year, was a late addition to the 20-horse field.

Trainer Eric Reed told reporters after the race that he learned Rich Strike would race in the Derby “30 seconds” before the Friday deadline. What happened next for all the horse’s connections will be remembered forever.

"Get a good break and work over to the inside. Start picking them up midway on the backstretch and then pass them all before the finish line."

- Eric Reed on his strategy before the start

Recent Kentucky Derby Winners

2021 Mandaloun Florent Geroux Brad H. Cox Juddmonte Farms (Khalid Abdullah) 2:01.02
2020 Authentic John R. Velazquez Bob Baffert Spendthrift Farm LLC, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables LLC and Starlight Racing 2:00.61
2019 Country House Flavien Prat William I. Mott Mrs. JV Shields, EJM McFadden and LNJ Foxwoods 2:03.98
2018 Justify * Mike E. Smith Bob Baffert China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farms 2:04.20


The number of races won by Rich Strike prior to the Kentucky Derby

No one Could Have Predicted This

Rich Strike, who surged ahead of Epicenter and Zandon on the rail in the final strides of the Kentucky Derby (G1), pulled off one of the greatest upsets in Derby history. In the stretch, it looked like it was Epicenter’s race to lose after he paced himself perfectly in the lead to conserve energy for the final furlongs. But then Rich Strike turned it into overdrive to come from behind and get the win.

The Team Fell On Hard Times

Lightning struck one of three barns at Reed’s Mercury Equine Center in Lexington, Ky., early on Dec. 18, 2016, causing it to catch fire. Rich Strike’s trainer, Eric Reed and his wife, Kay, arrived at the scene too late to save anything from the barn. All 23 horses were lost.

“Um, what planet is this?

- Owner Rick Dawson

“I passed out, I don’t remember what happened.”

- Trainer Eric Reed


Donerail (1910–after 1918) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse that was the upset winner of the 1913 Kentucky Derby. His win stands as the biggest longshot victory in the history of the Kentucky Derby. Going off at 91–1, Donerail provided a $184.90 payoff for a $2 bet. © Wikimedia Commons

2022 Kentucky Derby Results, Payouts

21 – Rich Strike WIN: $163.60 PLACE: $74.20 SHOW: $29.40
3 – Epicenter PLACE: $7.40 SHOW: $5.20
10 – Zandon SHOW: $5.60

$2.00 Exacta 21-3 $4,101.20
$1.00 Trifecta 21-3-10 $14,870.70
$1.00 Superfecta 21-3-10-13 $321,500.10

What's Next For Rich Strike?

This year’s Triple Crown began with the Kentucky Derby on May 7 at Churchill Downs. The Preakness Stakes will be held on May 21 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, followed by the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, in Elmont, N.Y., near New York City on June 11.

  • Kentucky Derby

    The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, almost always on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival.

  • Sonny Leon

    Sonny Leon is a Venezuelan jockey . He rode Rich Strike to victory in the 2022 Kentucky Derby and the second largest payout to win in history of the Derby.