Longshot and final entry Rich Strike has crossed the finish line first in the 148th, 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.
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. 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.
This year’s race went on without suspended Hall of Fame trainer, whom Churchill Downs for two years following ‘s and eventual disqualification as the winner of .
Like other major sporting events such as the, 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.
Thewas delayed until Labor Day weekend, then . It returned to its familiar spring slot eight months later in 2021, but with limited capacity.