Rich Strike’s handlers say they thought they missed Kentucky Derby field: ‘It was a rollercoaster ride’

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Rich Strike’s owner and trainer didn’t think the colt was going to be in the Kentucky Derby at all.

Owner Richard Dawson and trainer Eric Reed appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Monday and talked about their horse’s historic win at the Kentucky Derby, revealing they thought they were going to be on the outside looking in until another horse was scratched from the race before the deadline.

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Rich Strike, with Sonny Leon aboard, leads Epicenter and Zandon down the straightaway to win the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Louisville. 

Rich Strike, with Sonny Leon aboard, leads Epicenter and Zandon down the straightaway to win the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Louisville. 
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

“Twenty horses are allowed to race. We were No. 21 on the list. In fact, last Sunday we were 24 and moved all the way to 21 by that Friday morning 9 a.m. deadline. We actually thought we weren’t getting in,” Dawson told co-anchors Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade. “Eric started texting friends and family ‘well, were close we didn’t get in.’ I was doing the same thing.

“His phone rings, he looks at me and says ‘oh my gosh we’re in.’ And so out of the 20 texts I sent out, I had to send ‘oh sorry, update … we’re in.’ It was a rollercoaster ride but it has been now for a couple of months but wow, what a day.”

KENTUCKY DERBY 2022 RESULTS: RICH STRIKE PULLS OFF INCREDIBLE UPSET IN FIRST LEG OF TRIPLE CROWN

Rich Strike, ridden by Sonny Leon, wins the Kentucky Derby, Saturday, May 7, 2022, at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

Rich Strike, ridden by Sonny Leon, wins the Kentucky Derby, Saturday, May 7, 2022, at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
(Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Longines)

Reed said he was still feeling pretty good after Saturday’s win.

“It’s a feeling I wish would never go away,” he said.

Rich Strike galloped to one of the biggest upsets in Kentucky Derby history on Saturday when he zoomed past Epicenter on the last stretch of the race to win the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Sonny Leon, in his first Derby, rode Rich Strike to the winner’s circle. The horse, which hadn’t won a race since Maiden Claiming at Churchill Downs last September, somehow pulled together in the final few yards to get the victory.

Rich Strike was an 80-1 shot going into the Derby.

Matthias Breschan, second from left, Longines CEO, presents timepieces to owner Richard Dawson, second from right, trainer Eric Reed, right, and jockey Sonny Leon after Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby, Saturday, May 7, 2022, at Churchill Downs. Longines is the official watch and timekeeper of the 148th Derby.

Matthias Breschan, second from left, Longines CEO, presents timepieces to owner Richard Dawson, second from right, trainer Eric Reed, right, and jockey Sonny Leon after Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby, Saturday, May 7, 2022, at Churchill Downs. Longines is the official watch and timekeeper of the 148th Derby.
(Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Longines)

Rich Strike had finished third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks in April, fourth in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes in March, and fifth in the Gun Runner Stakes in December.

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The Preakness Stakes is next for Rich Strike. The race is on May 21.

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