Rich Strike, the longest longshot, wins the Kentucky Derby

Rich Strike, the longest of the longshots, going into the Kentucky Derby at odds of 81-1, won the 148thth Saturday’s edition of the famous thoroughbred race at Louisville’s Churchill Downs.

Epicenter, the 4-1 favorite, finished second. Zandon finished third, 6-1. The competition, billed as the Run for the Roses, had a crowded field of 20 horses.

It was the first time since the start of the pandemic that the 1 1/4 mile race, the first stage of the Triple Crown, has been run at Churchill Downs without capacity restrictions. The track was used to seeing 150,000 spectators at pre-pandemic derbies, including everyone from celebrities to regular racing fans.

A winning bet on Rich Strike paid $163.60. The horse had the second highest odds of any previous Derby winner. Even more notable, Rich Strike was not entered for the race until Friday morning when a spot became vacant after another horse was scratched.

“We’ve never entered a race that we didn’t think we could win,” Rich Strike owner Rick Dawson said on national television from among the winners.

Despite the cloudy weather, the derby visitors were definitely back on Saturday. Reports said the venue was packed hours before the race.

“It feels like we’re back to normal life,” California milliner Michelle Conforto told the Associated Press. It was Confortos 12th time at the event.

A reporter from the Louisville Courier-Journal tweeted this it was almost too crowded to move in the infield area of ​​the track. “It’s very, very difficult to go anywhere,” she said.

Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike during morning practice for the race

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Among the names in bold for this year’s race: musical artists Jack Harlow and Drake. But they were there to work: Harlow was shooting a video for his new song “Churchill Downs,” which features Drake.

Former President Donald Trump, who was in Pennsylvania the day before for Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz had recruited was present.

The Derby generates huge business – not only for Churchill Downs but also for the Louisville area. This year, race-related expenses were expected to reach or exceed $400 million a published report.

There is also money to be made for thoroughbred owners who bring their horses to the Derby. those years The grand total was $3 millionwith $1.86 million going to the winner’s owner.

The 2021 Derby was marred by controversy. Medina Spirit won the race but was later disqualified for testing positive for the drug betamethasone, an unapproved drug. Medina Spirit manager Bob Baffert was suspended for two years by Churchill Downs and Mandaloun was declared the Derby winner Rich Strike, the longest longshot, wins the Kentucky Derby

Brian Lowry

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