Trainer Eric Reed takes blame for Rich Strike performance

Jun 11, 2022, 4:49 AM | Updated: 5:34 pm
Rich Strike (4), with jockey Sonny Leon up, leaves the starting gate during the 154th running of th...

Rich Strike (4), with jockey Sonny Leon up, leaves the starting gate during the 154th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race Saturday, June 11, 2022, at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. Mo Donegal (6), with Irad Ortiz Jr., won the race. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) — Trainer Eric Reed says if there is anyone to blame for Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike’s poor performance in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, just point the finger at him.

The veteran trainer who orchestrated one of the greatest upsets in Derby history when Rich Strike won at odds of 80-1 last month, said he switched racing tactics in the final jewel of the Triple Crown and it backfired.

Reed told jockey Sonny Leon to keep the 3-year-old colt off the rail — his favorite spot when racing — and then make one big move when the field of eight got near the stretch. He felt there was a danger the colt might be trapped on the inside.

The problem was Rich Strike didn’t like being in the middle of the track. The rail is his usual position in racing. When the field turned for home with eventual winner Mo Donegal in front by three lengths, Rich Strikenever threatened in his first start since the Derby. His owners skipped the Preakness.

“I guess I made a mistake because I should have let Sonny put him on the fence,” Reed said. “You watch the replay, his head is cocked to the right. He’s wanting down there and we’re trying to keep him in the middle of track. So he’s just not aggressive.”

Unlike the Derby, there was no massive closing kick on the rail and the Rick Dawson-owned colt finished sixth in the eight-horse field, almost 14 lengths behind the winner.

Reed said it’s a big difference when a horse is focused on getting to the rail instead of trying to win.

“We’ve got a nice horse,” Reed said. ” He does everything the right way. He’s a magnificent animal, but he’s a very routine horse. And I should probably have not tried to do what I did with him today.”

Dawson didn’t think there was any technical reason Rich Strike didn’t run well. It just wasn’t his day.

“He will always be the Kentucky Derby winner, they can’t take that away from us. We’re not done now.”

Reed and Dawson said the immediate plans are to point Rich Strike to run in the Travers at Saratoga this summer.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bump & Stacy Show

AP

Belgium's Wout Van Aert, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey speak with Netherlands' Fabio J...
Associated Press

Van Aert wins Tour stage 4 in style and extends overall lead

CALAIS, France (AP) — Belgian rider Wout van Aert won the hilly fourth stage of the Tour de France and extended his overall lead after attacking strongly on the day’s final climb on Tuesday. The Belgian rider kept the leader’s yellow jersey for the Jumbo-Visma team after taking it for the first time on Saturday. […]
1 day ago
Australia's Nick Kyrgios prepares to serve to Brandon Nakashima of the US in a men's singles fourth...
Associated Press

Wimbledon quarterfinalist Kyrgios due in court in Australia

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Wimbledon quarterfinalist Nick Kyrgios is due in court back home in Australia next month, and a lawyer representing him said Tuesday the “precise nature of” the allegations “is neither certain at this moment nor confirmed by either the prosecution or” the 27-year-old professional tennis player. “While Mr. Kyrgios is committed to […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Review: ‘Bull Durham’ fans, rejoice at ‘Church of Baseball’

“The Church of Baseball: The Making of ‘Bull Durham’: Home Runs, Bad Calls, Crazy Fights, Big Swings and a Hit” by Ron Shelton (Knopf) Former minor-league ballplayer Ron Shelton has written and directed a host of sports-themed movies, but it’s doubtful anyone has told him they’ve named their children after the characters in “Tin Cup” […]
1 day ago
Germany's Tatjana Maria celebrates defeating Germany's Jule Niemeier in a women's singles quarterfi...
Associated Press

At 34, Maria reaches Wimbledon semifinals for 1st time

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — The first semifinalist at this year’s Wimbledon is the oldest woman remaining in the draw. Tatjana Maria, a 34-year-old German who returned to the tour less than a year ago following the birth of her second daughter, advanced to the semifinals at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in […]
1 day ago
Germany's Tatjana Maria plays a return to Germany's Jule Niemeier in a women's singles quarterfinal...
Associated Press

Wimbledon updates | Maria reaches 1st GS semifinal at age 34

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — The Latest from Wimbledon (all times local): ___ 3:30 p.m. Tatjana Maria advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals — the 34-year-old German’s first final four at any Grand Slam tournament — by beating Jule Niemeier 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. Maria will face either third-seeded Ons Jabeur or unseeded Marie Bouzkova for a place […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Wimbledon’s all-white clothing bothers some, delights others

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Before being interviewed on Centre Court about his return to the Wimbledon quarterfinals, Nick Kyrgios traded in his all-white grass-court shoes for a red-and-white pair of basketball sneakers, and swapped out his white hat for a red one. Big deal? Not to Kyrgios. Not to many, probably. Still, sure seemed to […]
1 day ago
Trainer Eric Reed takes blame for Rich Strike performance