Who is Sonny Leon, Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike's jockey?
- Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby
- Sonny Leon is the Venezuelan jockey for the horse
- This is Leon's first derby win
Kentucky Derby 2022 saw one of the biggest upsets when Rich Strike beat the odds to win the race, in fact, becoming the second-longest odds horse to win at Churchill Downs. It was just as monumental a moment for Sonny Leon, Rich Strike's jockey, who clinched his first derby win.
"When I was in the last 70 yards, I said, 'I think I got this race,'", Leon said, as per Sporting News.
The 32-year-old Venezuelan had success in smaller competitions during his career, snagging consecutive Best of Ohio Endurance crowns with the steed Forewarned. However, the derby win gave Leon the chance to establish himself at a national level.
Also Read | Kentucky Derby 2022: Pedigree fun facts
This also makes him the second Venezuelan jockey to win the Run for the Roses. The first was Gustavo Avila, who rode Canonero II to win both Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 1971.
Leon remains one of the most accomplished Venezuelan riders to have come to the US and has over 200 wins in his career. Sporting red-and-white, the horse and the rider got free inside, edging past Epicenter and Zandon in the deep stretch of the 148th edition of the Kentucky Derby, to claim this stupendous win.
While those at Churchill Downs might have gotten acquainted with the Venezuelan's talent after the derby win, Leon is a jockey of some stature at Austintown's Hollywood Casino Mahoning Valley Race Course. He also has the most wins as a jockey on this course.
Leon's last win before the Kentucky Derby first-place finish came on April 13, when he rode Waiting on William, the horse trained by Eric Reed.
Rich Strike's stroke of luck at the Kentucky Derby reflects that of the Venezuelan jockey. The horse was included after Ethereal Road was excluded from the Kentucky Derby on Friday. The three-year-old colt's victory marks Kentucky's second-biggest upset following Donerail, who won the 1913 race with 91-1 odds.