Rich Strike now has a decision to make

Sometime around 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning, about seven hours after his horse got out of the Kentucky Derby rage in the century, Eric Reed finally stretched out on his bed. But sleeping on Sunday was impossible if his Horse Strike horse was Saturday.

Reed, who has been coached by the Rich Strike since last September, has not stopped running in his mind, despite having seen it many times in Churchill Downs pictures and, later, at home with friends who waited for him until midnight. return. All the time, the Rich Strike rides around cars, coming from the very back of the group, passing 17 more horses like mercury, then seeing daylight and cutting in, beyond the two winning horses with only a few yards left. .

Reed remembered his father’s hug with Herb, the legendary horseman, when the horses came down, shouting, “My God, Father, we have won Derby!” She was stunned at the thought, and then she woke up. Sleep would not come that night, and after some festivals and interviews, Reed would only take a few hours Sunday night.

The weekend was all about celebrating the Rich Strike victory. Now, it’s time for Reed to think about encore.

“We want to be a part of history,” Reed says. “After winning the Derby, we had to stop and see the whole picture. It’s not as easy as it used to be. We have to do what is best for Richie.”

The Kentucky Derby is the first gem on the Triple Crown for horse racing, and the second is the next in a row. Less than two weeks from now, the Preakness Stakes will take place at Pimlico Downs in Maryland, and three weeks later, the Belmont Stakes in New York will complete the trifecta.

However, getting ready for a top horse race is not as easy as lifting him up in a wagon and rolling east.

“Belmont is the best competition you can win,” says Reed. “The Preakness has fewer courts and a shorter distance [1 3/16 miles versus 1 ½ miles]. Belmont has a big, wide, swift, and 19 horsepower. ”

Belmont is a very good Rich Strike race, in fact, that Reed and owner Rick Dawson were looking forward to the June race all this time. He planned to stay five weeks between the start of the Rich Strike – Derby and Belmont Stakes – and adding Preakness in it adds new challenges.

“It’s not that we can’t compete,” says Reed, “and, what a shot that is [a chance at winning] Belmont altogether?

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – MAY 07: Coach Eric Reed holds the title after Rich Strike won the 148th Kentucky Derby race at Churchill Downs on May 07, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

Reed and Dawson will watch the Rich Strike exercise this week and make a phone call, maybe sometime Thursday.

That’s a good problem that Reed wouldn’t have thought of even as early as Friday morning. In a story that has already become a myth, Reed and his team plan to send the Rich Strike to New York to train Peter Pan Stakes, a race that took place this week in Belmont. It seems like it will be a frustrating end to a week in which the horse has run errandally in the training sessions.

Says Reed: “I was thinking how much I hate being taught a horse and waiting for another week. “We’ll make Peter Pan, and it’ll be a month to Belmont.”

But at the last minute, Ethereal Road started with the creation of the Rich Strike area, one of the few minutes that could be the most important return trip.

It was one of many times in Reed’s work that had to be done immediately, the same.

For example, take the time when Reed and Dawson first connected through a close friend. Dawson had faced many difficulties, and he was ready to give up his horse-racing business. Reed knew how to get Dawson back on track.

“I told her, ‘You should do better without spending a lot of money,’” Reed recalls. “I knew we needed to take the little horses, win, and let him see the ultimate joy.”

That was the second minute: when Reed and Dawson first looked at the Rich Strike. They have been looking for two-year-old lightweight runners, and Rich Strike, who competes at Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky, has to pay. Running on a turf last August, Heavy Strike died, but Reed noticed that the horse was more versatile on the ground. So he put $ 30,000 on the horse before the start of the Sep. race. 17 – at Churchill Downs, just to add to the legend – and Rich Strike dominated the race.

Reed brought the Rich Strike to the Mercury Equine Center in Lexington, where the horse could train peacefully. Mercury is the Reed Shangri-La horse, a quiet, quiet training area and a 15-foot railway line, equine leisure centers, and paddocks for horses to run freely after their training day. Reed bought the property in 2005 after many years on the road away from his family, and soon became a refuge for him and his horses.

“I felt that I had reached the peak of my career,” says Reed. “All the bars were full. I had good customers. Things would not be perfect. I thought, I did it. I have no mountains to conquer. I just need to persevere. ”

And then it all almost disappeared.

In early Dec. 18, 2016, a fire, which may have been started by lightning, started in another barn. Rescuers were able to save some of the horses, but many more were lost as a result of the fire.

“I can’t explain, I don’t want anyone to see what we saw,” Reed says. “They were 23 dead babies, my horses, my children … anger began. Pain. Taste I never asked the Lord, but I asked why. Why was I dropped?”

A few hours after the fire, Reed thought it was damaged. “Everybody kept saying, ‘Don’t go this way. You have 65, 70 horses to train, ‘”recalls Reed. “I didn’t know if I had the desire to continue, Dad. It was so depressing that I thought I could never bear the pain of it. ”

That was the third minute that led to the Kentucky Derby victory, a time when Reed could have given up forever.

A few days after the fire broke out and the barn was still burning, Reed stood on the tracks and watched as the other horses galloped off. And discernment came upon him.

“That love began to grow again,” he says. “I told myself, ‘If you leave, the 23 horses will die in vain. At first I had just finished the seed. And then it all went well. Every day I remember that day. ”

His voice, inaudible from the days of festivities and interviews, is loud and clear. He said: “I know how the descent goes, and now I know how it goes.

He was already ahead of the game, and is now playing with home money. This is what happens when an 80-1 long shot pays off.

May 7, 2022;  Louisville, KY, USA;  Sonny Leon rode the Rich Strike for the first round after winning the 148th Kentucky Derby race at Churchill Downs.  Credit Card: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

May 7, 2022; Louisville, KY, USA; Sonny Leon rode the Rich Strike for the first round after winning the 148th Kentucky Derby race at Churchill Downs. Credit Card: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow her on Twitter at @jaybusbee or talk to her at jay.busbee@yahoo.com.

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