Rich Strike crowned winner of 2022 Kentucky Derby

Rich Strike crowned winner of 2022 Kentucky Derby

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Longshot and final entry Rich Strike has crossed the finish line first in the 148th Kentucky Derby, outracing favorite Epicenter and Zandon in a stunning 80-1 upset.

The horse entered the field on Friday after Ethereal Road was scratched and started outside but charged down the stretch to pass the leaders in the 20-horse field and run the 1 1/4 mile in 2:02.61.

Kentucky Derby Horse Racing
Rich Strike (21), with Sonny Leon aboard, beats Epicenter (3), with Joel Rosario aboard, at the finish line to win the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Louisville, Ky.

Mark Humphrey / AP


Spectators returned big time to Churchill Downs, which aimed for close to full capacity beneath the Twin Spires for the first time since 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic. Friday’s Kentucky Oaks provided a nice warmup as 100,188 took in the race for 3-year-old fillies.

For Saturday’s $3 million marquee event, Zandon was the morning-line favorite, drawing 3-1 odds Monday. As of Saturday afternoon, the winner of last month’s Blue Grass at Keeneland in Lexington had 7-1 odds.

Epicenter, initially expected to be the Derby favorite, and Santa Anita Derby winner Taiba were the favored betting choices Saturday afternoon at 5-1 each. 

An exercise rider works Kentucky Derby morning-line favorite Zandon during morning workouts at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, May 5, 2022.
An exercise rider works Kentucky Derby morning-line favorite Zandon during morning workouts at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, May 5, 2022.

Jamie Rhodes-USA Today Sports


This year’s race went on without suspended Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, whom Churchill Downs suspended for two years following Medina Spirit‘s failed postrace drug test and eventual disqualification as the winner of last year’s Derby.

Like other major sporting events such as the Super Bowl, Final Four and Major League Baseball games are any indication, the atmosphere for the first jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown had a pre-pandemic feel, though masks were optional.

The 2020 running was delayed until Labor Day weekend, then held without spectators. It returned to its familiar spring slot eight months later in 2021, but with limited capacity.



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