LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With favorite Epicenter and Zandon dueling in front, Rich Strike came charging up the rail in the closing strides for a stunning 80-1 upset in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Jockey Sonny Leon guided Rich Strike from far back in the 20-horse field to beat 4-1 favorite Epicenter by three-quarters of a length. Zandon was another three-quarters of a length back in third at Churchill Downs in front of a crowd that included former President Donald Trump.
Rich Strike had the second-biggest upset in the race’s 148-year history. He paid $163.60 to win. Only Donerail in 1913 had a higher payout of $184.90.
Rich Strike wasn’t even in the Derby field until Friday when Ethereal Road was scratched, making room for the chestnut colt trained by Eric Reed. The horse becomes just the second to win the Kentucky Derby from the 20th post position since the modern starting gate was introduced in 1930, joining Big Brown in 2008.
Both Leon, from Venezuela, and Reed were in their first Derby. Leon regularly rides on small circuits, including Ohio. His rail ride was reminiscent of jockey Calvin Borel aboard Mine That Bird in 2009. Mine That Bird paid $103.20 to win.
Rich Strike was purchased by owner RED TR-Racing LLC for $30,000 last fall when he was entered in a low-level claiming race by former owner Calumet Farm. Rich Strike earned $1.86 million for just his second career victory.
The Associated Press and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this story.