Who is Eric Reed, Kentuck Derby-winning horse Rich Strike's trainer?
- Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby 2022
- Eric Reed is Rich Strike's trainer and this was his debut win
- Reed previously lost 23 horses in a fire caused by lightning and considered quitting
Kentucky Derby 2022 saw Rich Strike beat 80-1 odds, the second-longest in the Run for the Roses' history, to win. Churchill Downs saw Rich Strike beat favourites Epicenter and Zandon, but the win also resulted in debut victories for the steed's trainer Eric Reed and jockey Sonny Leon.
Before heading into the race, Reed had said "We are entering and hoping and praying", as per the Courier-Journal. After the victory, Reed spoke to NBC, saying, "I don't know how (to put the win into words). I fell down in the paddock when he hit the wire. I about passed out. I'm so happy".
He also explained his strategy, "We don’t go out and buy the big horses", and continued, "We just try to have a good, quality stable. We always perform well, our percentages are always good. We take care of the horse first, and the rest falls into place."
Reed is based out of Lexington and owns the Mercury Equine Cente, whose website lists some of the trainer's career achievements. Reed won the Grad 2 Lexus Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland in 2009 with Satan's Quick Chick. He had a near-miss defeating Zenyatta, the star filly, in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes with Rinterval in 2010.
Speaking of Rich Strike, Reed said, "I never thought I would have a Derby horse", and added, "I never tried to go to the yearling sale and buy a Derby horse. I just wanted to buy my clients a horse that would keep them happy, have some fun and make a little money. If we got a good one, terrific. This was never in my thoughts."
Reed's training career started in 1983 and his first stakes win came in 1986 with Native Drummer in the Forego Stakes at Latonia. Reed comes from a family of horse trainers, and his father Herbert, was an assistant trainer under Mack Miller, winner of the 1993 Kentucky Derby with Sea Hero.
As per Reed's social media profile, he's married and lives with a large family in Versailles, Kentucky.
Before the debut derby win, Reed had faced tragedy as lightning resulted in a fire that killed 23 of his horses, leaving 13 to make it out alive. Speaking of the uncertainty of him training again, after this incident, Reed commented, "I just thought of all the years and all the stuff we had done to get this beautiful farm and have this happen, that something might be telling me it’s the end of the line."
Now, after this win, Rich Strike and the team will head to the Preakness Stakes - which is part of the coveted Triple Crown. The horse race takes place at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 21.