Kentucky Derby Winner Rich Strike Works for G1 Runhappy Travers

August 19, 2022

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – RED TR-Racing’s Rich Strike breezed five-eighths in 59.82 seconds Friday over the main track under exercise rider Gabriel Lagunes in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on August 27 at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Eric Reed, the Keen Ice chestnut arrived at Saratoga on Sunday afternoon.

“He worked really good. He worked faster than we thought he would, but he did it easily,” Reed said. “I think my question on him liking the track was answered this morning. He came home well. It is probably as good as he worked, even since before he did going into the [Kentucky] Derby. He was supposed to go :49 or :50. He did it all on his own. He was galloping over the track.”

Rich Strike was claimed for $30,000 out of a maiden claiming score in September at Churchill Downs and found his best form at Turfway Park, finishing third in the Leonatus in January, fourth in the John Battaglia Memorial in March, and third in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks in April to land on the precipice of the Kentucky Derby field.

When Ethereal Road scratched from the Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike drew in and shocked the world with an 80-1 upset victory from the outermost post 20, besting Travers rivals Epicenter and Zandon, who finished second and third, respectively.

Rich Strike skipped the Grade 1 Preakness in favor of the 12-furlong Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 11, finishing a distant sixth in a key race that runner-up Nest exited to win the Grade 1 CCA Oaks at Saratoga and third-place finisher Skippylongstocking departed to win the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby.

Reed said Rich Strike has settled in well to his new surroundings at Saratoga.

“Everything is in good shape. All we have to do is do some paddock schooling and keep him happy and healthy,” Reed said. “He’ll go to the paddock Sunday morning after he gallops. He will walk through it on Monday. Then, on Wednesday and Thursday, we’ll plan on taking him there in the afternoon.”

Bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm, Rich Strike is out of the graded stakes winning Smart Strike mare Gold Strike, who was named Canada’s Champion 3-Year-Old Filly in 2005.

NYRA Press Office

Photo: Rich Strike at Belmont Park June 1, 2022 (NYRA/Coglianese)

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