The 2022 Kentucky Derby isn’t likely to be one that we will be forgetting anytime soon.
In one of the most anticipated Triple Crown races of all time, with one of the most talented fields in recent history, it was the story of one trainer his 81/1 chance who wasn’t even involved in the race until the morning of the race that will be an ever-lasting story from this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Racing’s Reputation Boosted
Over the past 12 months, horse racing’s reputation has taken an almighty hit following Medina Spirit’s disqualification in the Kentucky Derby last year. That Bob Baffert-shaped cloud was still hanging over the event this year. That was until the moment Rich Strike finally managed to get into the lead.
The lesson that many will take from this year’s race is that no matter how much you buy a horse, there’s still a chance that you can win the biggest races.
Eric Reed’s story is also one that highlights perseverance and daring to dream, as he nearly walked away from the sport six years ago after a barn fire. However, this was the day that jockey Sonny Leon, Reed, and the connections of Rich Strike never thought would happen.
It may be considered the second-biggest shock of all time, but it is certainly the heart-warming win that the whole sport needed after the events of the past 12 months.
Trends Becoming Less Important
One lesson that can certainly be taken from not just the Kentucky Derby, but also major international races such as the Grand National, is the fading importance of trends.
Trends would typically be among the important reading for all fans when betting on races, but Rich Strike’s win went against almost all of them. He won from stall 20, which has only previous been the winning stall on one occasion.
He hadn’t won in stakes company prior to lining up at Churchill Downs, while Leon also hadn’t ridden a graded winner. Furthermore, historical trends would often encourage bettors to stay away from horses that made their debut on the turf, but Rich Strike also went against that as he was tenth on debut on the turf.
Also, he earned his way into the race after finishing fourth in the John Battaglia Memorial and third in the G3 Jeff Ruby; both run on the all-weather.
It’s also worth mentioning that Tiz The Bomb and Tawny Port, who were first and second in the Jeff Ruby, also finished ahead of a number of big-name contenders, including Taiba, Messier and White Abarrio.
More Heartbreak For Asmussen
Steven Asmussen’s misery in the Kentucky Derby continued this year, as Epicenter finished second. The three-year-old had a dream ride in the race this year, but he still finished just short. That defeat now means that Asmussen is 0-24 in the first Triple Crown race.
He has also suffered runner-up finishes on three occasions following Epicenter’s finish, as he joins the likes of Nehro and Lookin at Lee, who also came close to breaking the trainer’s dismal record in the race. Asmussen would certainly be forgiven for thinking that a Derby win may never come at this point, as he couldn’t have wished for better from Epicenter.
However, it’s likely that Asmussen’s thinking has already now shifted towards the Preakness for Epicenter. Will we see Epicenter among the list of Preakness Stakes winners here? The second jewel of the Triple Crown is a race where the Hall of Famer has a strong record, as he picked up a second victory in the race in 2009 with Curlin. Epicenter looks strongly positioned to lay down a very strong challenge at Pimlico.