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'Never give up, people': Rich Strike's trainer talks Kentucky Derby comeback win

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Posted at 10:23 PM, May 09, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Rich Strike, the winner of the 148th Kentucky Derby, was the longest shot to win in more than a century. But after history was made on Saturday in Louisville, he's back home in Lexington at Mercury Equine Center with his trainer, Eric Reed.

They've got all that it takes to train a horse to win the Kentucky Derby,

"Well, it holds a little over 90 horses," said Reed. "We've got a five-furlong track; we've got 15 paddocks. We've got an equine cold water horse spa."

This is where Rich Strike did most of his training ahead of the Derby. Reed has been a trainer for 40 years.

"The race itself was set up just like we thought it would," said Reed. "He broke, and immediately we got him to the inside."

And Reed knew jockey Sonny Leon would take it from there. And it wasn't just an upset... it was a comeback.

In the final stretch, Rich Strike went from 15th... to 1st.

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Back on the farm, it's back to business, too, but a different feel in the air.

"Yeah, there's a buzz and everybody's happy," said Reed. "It doesn't matter how hard they're working."

A feeling of immense gratitude as this farm lost 23 horses in 2016 after a barn fire that was caused by a lightning strike.

"You can remember the worst of the worst, and now I'll remember the best of the best," he said. "It will never get better than the Kentucky Derby."

Eric Reed has spent his life working to this moment.

"I wouldn't be a horse trainer if it wasn't for my Dad," he says. "I've been doing it since I was 6 years old with him."

And he got to share it with his dad

"Oh my gosh, to win it, I get emotional thinking about it," said Reed. "I've never seen my Dad break down."

Reed says he didn't doubt Rich Strike. Maybe didn't expect him to win the Derby, but knew he belonged there.

"I'm living the dream. I'm living the dream. Never give up, people."

Eric Reed says he'll know in a few days just how Rich Strike came out of the Kentucky Derby. He'll go back to the training track on Tuesday. As long as all goes okay, he's going to the Preakness.