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Rich Strike Wins 2022 Kentucky Derby as Heavy Underdog in Historic Upset

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 8, 2022

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The first leg of the Triple Crown is complete for Rich Strike after he won the 2022 Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

One of the greatest upsets in Derby history unfolded down the final stretch as Rich Strike surged ahead of Epicenter and Zandon on the rail.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

“THE LONGEST SHOT HAS WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY! RICH STRIKE HAS DONE IT!” 😱<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NBCSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBCSports</a>)<a href="https://t.co/VfNiil1UkP">pic.twitter.com/VfNiil1UkP</a>


Kentucky Derby Results

  1. Rich Strike
  2. Epicenter
  3. Zandon
  4. Simplification
  5. Mo Donegal
  6. Barber Road
  7. Tawny Port
  8. Smile Happy
  9. Tiz the Bomb
  10. Zozos
  11. Classic Causeway
  12. Taiba
  13. Crown Pride
  14. Happy Jack
  15. Messier
  16. White Abarrio
  17. Charge It
  18. Cyberknife
  19. Pioneer of Medina
  20. Summer Is Tomorrow

Rich Strike team collects $1.86 million of the race's $3 million purse. Epicenter's runner-up finish nets $600,000 for his group.

As Saturday's post time neared, there wasn't a clear runaway favorite. Epicenter (4-1) had the best odds (5-1) on the Derby's official site, and he was followed closely behind by Taiba (5-1), Messier (6-1) and Zandon (6-1).

Epicenter finished second at the Lecomte Stakes before claiming victory in the Risen Star Stakes and Louisiana Derby. Taiba only had one graded stakes event to his name but made it count by winning the Santa Anita Derby. Messier was runner-up to Taiba at Santa Anita Park in April, and Zandon was coming off a Blue Grass Stakes triumph.

The 2021 Run for the Roses featured a dramatic battle down the final stretch between Medina Spirit (who was subsequently disqualified), Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality. This year was no different.

Coming around the final turn, it looked like the Derby would provide a predictable result. Epicenter passed Messier on the outside, with Zandon trying to keep pace to his right. The fears about jockey Joel Rosario getting stuck on the rail by starting from the No. 3 gate were unfounded.

For all intents and purposes, the race was Epicenter's to lose after he paced himself perfectly to conserve enough energy for the last few furlongs.

Then Rich Strike hit the turbo button. He delivered an incredible performance that won't be soon forgotten. The only thing that was missing was jockey Sonny Leon giving Rosario the peace sign a la Miami Dolphins star Tyreek Hill.

Amy Lawrence @ALawRadio

Isn't this why we watch sports?? Infinite possibilities, even the longest of long shots and most ridiculous underdogs. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RichStrike?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RichStrike</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KentuckyDerby?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KentuckyDerby</a>

The story is also something ripped straight from a movie as Rich Strike was a late addition to the field.

Ryland Barton @RylandKY

Longshot Rich Strike wins the 148th Kentucky Derby, added to the roster yesterday after a couple late scratches

Jeff Schultz @JeffSchultzATL

Rich Strike was in a $30,000 claiming race. For those who don’t know what that is, think of an event in which every participant is on waivers.

Consistently getting on the biggest underdogs isn't a strategy that will yield positive results over time, but sometimes there's such a big long shot that you simply can't help yourself.

Josh Weinfuss @joshweinfuss

80-1 odds. Insane. How many people who had too many mint juleps thought it’d be funny to put $100 on Rich Strike? Well, they just won $8,000.

In the case of Rich Strike, a lot of people who thought they were throwing money down the drain are laughing their way to the bank.

As the Derby winner, Rich Strike will presumably look to continue his quest for the Triple Crown at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on May 21. The shortest of the three races, the Preakness Stakes always presents a slightly different challenge.

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