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EXPLAINER: How 81-1 report Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby

EXPLAINER: How 81-1 report Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby

This doesn't happen. Horses at likelihood of almost 81-1 don't go nearer earliest inside the Kentucky Derby. Jockeys who have never won some large stakes competition of some type don't go nearer earliest inside the Kentucky Derby. Owners accompanied by fewer than 10 career wins don't go nearer earliest inside the Kentucky Derby.

Rich Strike accompanied by every one one other accompanied by his connections disagree accompanied by those sentiments.

One of the biggest upsets inside racing history happened Saturday inside the Kentucky Derby, when Rich Strike shocked the setting up by running past everyone accompanied by every one one other accompanied by winning the earliest foot limb of this year's Triple Crown series.

Those who bet $2 to go nearer earliest inside on Rich Strike got $163.60 inside return. Not bad for concerning place of set of two minutes of work. For jockey Sonny Leon, trainer Eric Reed accompanied by every one one other accompanied by owner Rick Dawson, the consequence was life-changing. Leon was racing Friday at a little-known track inside Cincinnati called Balterra Park. Reed's biggest go nearer earliest inside earlier to Saturday was accompanied by a filly called Satans Quick Chick inside a Grade 2 competition almost 12 years ago. Dawson, a half-hour or so following the Derby, rhetorically asked a question to anyone within earshot.

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"What planet is this?" Dawson said.

Indeed, it's a whole new world that he's small part of now. And a 3-year-old colt that was a a large amount of closer to last place than earliest for most of the competition Saturday made it all happen.

HOW DID HE EVEN GET IN?

Good luck for him, bad luck for another. The Kentucky Derby can't have additional than 20 horses inside the field. Rich Strike was 21st on the list. If one of the 20 horses that certified didn't consequence from the competition earlier to 9 a.m. Friday, Rich Strike's Derby scheme would have ended.

At 8:45 a.m. Friday, the call came: No scratches. Reed texted his father: "Didn't happen." The safety retain protected from danger employed the barn accompanied by every one one other accompanied by protecting Rich Strike was sent home. Plans were actuality made to sprint Rich Strike inside a competition this week inside New York instead.

Around that time, the connections for Ethereal Road — trained by D. Wayne Lukas — told Derby officials that they were pulling not here of the race. Reed got another call at 8:55 telling him not to go the horse, at that hour dated another call a minute or place of set of two subsequent accompanied by the official word.

They were in.

"What fair happened?" Reed asked.

Turns out, history was starting to happen.

HOW DID HE WIN?

Think of the horses exist fond of competition cars. There's a finite amount of fuel inside the tank. The faster you burn the fuel, the quicker the tank empties. And that's exactly what happened inside the Kentucky Derby.

Summer Is Tomorrow was the leader following a quarter-mile, or place of set of two furlongs. He covered that distance inside 21.78 seconds — the fastest hour dated inside Kentucky Derby history. No horse tin convey that step for 1 1/4 miles. And Summer Is Tomorrow wound up finishing last inside the 20-horse field, 64 1/2 lengths behind Rich Strike.

It wasn't fair Summer Is Tomorrow. Many horses went not here on a blistering pace, since so numerous trainers accompanied by every one one other accompanied by jockeys had decided their finest go was to obtain near to the lead for the opening portions of the race.

The biggest indicator that this was going to exist a wild complete inside all likelihood came when track announcer Larry Collmus briefly stopped his rundown of which horse was where inside the meadow at the half-mile mark. "The opening half-mile was — WHOA! — blazing fast, 45.36 seconds," Collmus said.

Those fuel tanks were emptying a lengthy way faster than anticipated.

At that half-mile mark, Rich Strike was ahead of only place of set of two horses. He was sitting inside 18th place.

HOW DID RICH STRIKE PASS SO MANY HORSES?

Two answers: He ran by some, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by some, while they speak inside racing, stopped running.

Technically, that last small part isn't true. All 20 horses were "running" when they crossed the complete line. Nobody "stopped." But some simply ran not here of gas, meaning their all-out sprints had become little additional than a gallop or a jog.

Rich Strike had tons of fuel left. He excessively had one other greatest advantage: He was near the rail.

It's simple math: The closer one is to the rail, the shorter of a distance one has to run. Most of the contending horses while the leaders turned into the stretch accompanied by every one one other accompanied by headed place of residence were fanned not here wide across the track, moves that made their trips a small part longer.

This is where Leon had a enormous decision to make. He had to obtain around Messier, one of the early leaders who was fading fast. Leon decided to veer slightly to his fair accompanied by every one one other accompanied by obtain around Messier, at that hour dated dove spine down inside the way of the objection strongly at to complete Rich Strike's run. It was almost while if nobody saw him coming.

They saw him at the end. That's all that mattered.

HOW DID HANDICAPPERS GET THIS SO WRONG?

If we knew that, everyone would have cashed their Derby tickets. Rich Strike had fair one go nearer earliest inside coming into the competition (though, inside fairness, it was by 17 1/4 lengths, which is magnificent anyway of the flat of competition).

He's a closer. He hadn't won some of his last five races nevertheless made late moves inside all of them, going from sixth to third, seventh to fifth, eighth to third, 11th to fourth accompanied by every one one other accompanied by 11th to third. Passing horses down the stretch is apparently his favorite pastime. Handicappers certainly missed that.

But reputations excessively matter. Frankly, not numerous horseplayers knew who Leon was, or who Reed was, earlier to Saturday.

They do now.

"It's a horse race, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by anybody tin win," Reed said. "And the toteboard doesn't signify a thing."

WHAT'S NEXT?

The Preakness is May 21 at Pimlico, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by it would seem exist fond of Rich Strike will head there to see if he tin go one go nearer earliest inside away from grabbing the most improbable Triple Crown ever.

"That's inside all likelihood the plan," Reed said Sunday. "I'm not going to do a whole a large amount accompanied by him accompanied by every one one other accompanied by I don't exist fond of to sprint spine quick. You obtain one exist fond of this inside a lifetime accompanied by every one one other accompanied by you have to retain protected from danger him."

___

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EXPLAINER: How 81-1 report Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby

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