Rich Strike’s trainer and owner on the shocking Kentucky Derby win

Sports

 (NewsNation) — Rich Strike’s stunning Kentucky Derby upset shocked the sports world, but the owner and trainer told NewsNation they were “very confident” Rich Strike would succeed.

“He’s proved to us that if we could just get in the race, we had a huge chance to hit the board,” Oklahoma energy businessman and owner Rick Dawson said. “First and foremost, we thought well, maybe, maybe we get third. And it went from, hey, we got third, we might get second to wow, we just won the Derby.”

As favorite Epicenter and Zandon engaged in a duel at the front, Rich Strike stole the show as one of the biggest upsets in the Derby’s 148-year history.

Horses at odds of nearly 81-1 don’t win the Kentucky Derby. Jockeys who have never won any big stakes race of any kind don’t win the Kentucky Derby. Owners with fewer than 10 career wins don’t win the Kentucky Derby.

“We just took our time with him. Rick was patient. And we knew it was going to take a few races because he’s very green, and he had a lot of talent but didn’t know what to do with it,” veteran trainer Eric Reed said. “So we all came into the picture at that point because we were willing to work with the horse all the way. We just needed the horse to improve the traits.”

While Rich Strike defied the odds, Reed also kept going in the face of adversity.

“We had a barn fire and lost 23 horses, it was probably the lowest point in my career. I didn’t know if I even want to keep going after that, because I worked so hard to get to this point, and then have something like that kind of knock you to your knees again,” Reed said on “Morning in America.” “But through love and grace and friendship, and just people telling me don’t give up, we decided to give it a shot you know, not to go out that way. And we did and now we are the Kentucky Derby champions.”

Similar decisions await for some of the favorites Rich Strike chased down late with Sonny Leon aboard on the way to clocking 2:02.61 in the 1 1/4-mile Derby.

The veteran trainer and everybody around him partied long after the 80-1 long shot pulled off a monumental feat on Saturday.

This interview was edited for clarity and length. You can watch clips of the interview with Reed in the player above.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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