Video: If you are feeling down, let Rich Strike lift your spirits and take your breath away

I have been a huge fan of the Kentucky Derby from a very young age. I don’t know why. It was not any sort of tradition in our family. But I made it a tradition when I had a family of my own, and to this day we all pick our horses the morning of the race in a giant group text spanning both coasts.

This year, something unusual happened.

One of the twenty horses was scratched on Friday morning. Rich Strike, who had missed the cut, was given the opportunity to enter the race. Owner Rick Dawson managed to complete the paperwork only 30 seconds before the deadline. Then they had to find a jockey, so they snagged Sonny Leon, who had just ridden six races the previous day in Cincinnati. Long shot was an understatement. This horse had won just once previously, finishing out of the money three times.

So Rich Strike went off at 80-1, paying $163.60 on a $2 bet to win.

But this wasn’t just the biggest upset at the Kentucky Derby in over a century (Donerail 1913, 91-1). You have to watch how he did it. In this first video, watch how Leon is barely on the whip down the stretch; he’s basically just letting him run. Look for the red helmet and red silks coming down the inside:

Even that stunning finish doesn’t tell the whole story. To really see the ground he chewed up, we need to view the aerial the last half mile. I haven’t seen anything like this since Secretariat’s epic run at Belmont in 1973. Here is the aerial view starting at the far turn, where he sits in 17th as this video starts. I’ve watched it ten times. Enjoy!

He wins by a full length!

8 thoughts on “Video: If you are feeling down, let Rich Strike lift your spirits and take your breath away”

  1. Sorry for double post…but I’ve watched it like ten times now too.
    Keep thinking about how The Immaculate Conception WILL Triumph and just how Glorious that will be. I haven’t really contemplated just how Magnificent that will actually be…..I hope I’m alive to see it.

  2. Every beautiful thing comes from our God. There are times you can see something so miraculous you know with all certainty it comes from God. It may have no spiritual connection in an obvious way, but it’s too excellent, too amazing, too sweet, and your soul is moved. Horses are unparalleled creatures, as graceful as ballerinas, poising all that size on four elegant posts that move in perfect synchrony in a display of power that leaves you breathless. Just for fun, because I’m here, look up Frederik the Great, and see poetry in motion and a horse that has full awareness of himself as a thing of beauty. Thank God for horses. And of top of it all, they are intelligent and sensitive creatures, who we can have special relationships with.

  3. Thanks for posting this! So surprised to see this here – horse racing has been my obsession for years, and I love this story because no one was touting Rich Strike at all before the race. Out of the clouds! Just an uplifting story when we all needed one.
    St. Eligius, pray for horses and those who care for them. Every day when I pass the racetrack, I ask St. Eligius to protect these wonderful creatures.

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