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Rich Strike trainer nearly quit after fire

Eric Reed almost misplaced every part six years earlier than the horse he trains pulled off one of many largest upsets in Kentucky Derby historical past Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Reed, the coach of 80-1 longshot winner Wealthy Strike, admitted that he almost walked away from horse racing after 23 horses have been killed by a hearth at his Mercury Equine Middle in Lexington in 2016. Solely 13 horses survived the fireplace, which reportedly was attributable to lightning.

“Once we drove up on that that night time, I informed my spouse, I mentioned, ‘We’ve most likely misplaced every part,’” Reed mentioned, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “By the grace of God, the wind was blowing in a route that saved it from attending to the opposite two barns.

“The following morning after we noticed the devastation, as a result of this occurred in the course of the night time, I simply considered all of the years and all of the stuff we had achieved to get this stunning farm and have this occur, that one thing may be telling me it’s the top of the road.”

Coach Eric Reed holds the trophy after Wealthy Strike gained the Kentucky Derby.
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Rich Strike's jockey Sonny Leon (l.) hugs trainer Eric Reed after winning the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Wealthy Strike’s jockey Sonny Leon (l.) hugs coach Eric Reed after successful the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
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Wealthy Strike initially was listed as an alternate, however he was added to the 20-horse subject Friday morning when Ethereal Highway was scratched by coach D. Wayne Lukas.

In Reed’s first Derby coaching look, jockey Sonny Leon guided Wealthy Strike from the again of the pack approaching the ultimate flip previous favourite Epicenter alongside the rail down the stretch for the second-biggest upset within the 148-year historical past of the primary leg of the Triple Crown.

“We don’t exit and purchase the massive horses,” Reed mentioned. “We simply attempt to have , high quality steady. We at all times carry out effectively, our percentages are at all times good. We deal with the horse first, and the remaining falls into place.”

Reed additionally famous his appreciation for a number of distinguished trainers who supported him after the paddock hearth six years earlier.

Sonny Leon (r.) celebrates after Rich Strike wins the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Sonny Leon (r.) celebrates after Wealthy Strike wins the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
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“I believe that saved me going,” Reed mentioned. “Then I simply determined I wasn’t going to let it take me out. Thank God, we’re right here immediately.”

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