Why did Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike bite lead pony, outrider? An expert weighs in
by Aaron Mudd
Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike went viral Saturday, and not just for his 80-1, long shot victory that upset field favorites like Epicenter (4-1), Taiba (5-1) and Zandon (6-1).
In the moments after he crossed the finish line, as spectators in the stands erupted into a roar, video and images showed outriders on the track struggling to get Rich Strike under control as he repeatedly bit the lead pony and its rider Greg Blasi.
At one point, video taken from the perspective of a spectator up in the stands appeared to show Blasi punching Rich Strike, while another image taken by photographer Heather C. Jackson showed the Derby winner tearing into Blasi’s right leg with his teeth.
Observers on social media were quick to defend and criticize Blasi, including animal welfare group PETA, which issued a statement condemning the Churchill Downs outrider.
Eric Reed, Rich Strike’s trainer, defended Blasi in a Today Show appearance Monday, stating “that man saved my horse from injury.”