Quotable From 2022 Kentucky Derby: What the Trainers and Jockeys Had to Say

The Sport
The field charges down the stretch of the 2022 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The 2022 edition Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve was an unforgettable one, as 80-1 Rich Strike came flying up the inside late to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the race's history.

Read what the trainers and jockeys who competed in the first jewel of the Triple Crown had to say about the 1 1/4-mile classic race, the winner's performance, and how their horse fared.

“You know we had a difficult post but I know the horse. I didn’t know if he could win but I had a good feeling with him. I had to wait until the stretch and that’s what I did. I waited and then the rail opened up. I wasn’t nervous, I was excited. Nobody knows my horse like I know my horse.”

-Sonny Leon, rider of winner Rich Strike

 “He passed them all. I’m elated. I’m happy because this horse trained good enough to win. This rider (Sonny Leon) has been on him all along as he learned the process. He taught him to go between horses. He taught me who to train horses (pointing to his father, Herbert). I’m surrounded by the best. I didn’t think I could win necessarily but I knew if he got it, they’d know who he was when the race was over.”

-Eric Reed, trainer of Rich Strike

“Everything was perfect. We thought we were home. Too bad that horse got us right at the end. I thought Epicenter ran a tremendous race. He did everything. He responded when I asked him. We ran too good to get beat.”

-Joel Rosario, rider of runner-up Epicenter

“I can’t believe it after Epicenter’s effort. And, the scenario in which I went 0 for 24, you couldn’t make up. I got beat by the horse that just got in.”

-Steve Asmussen, trainer of Epicenter

“We really had a great trip. Epicenter was in front of us closer to the pace and Flavien (Prat) really just followed Joel (Rosario) all the way. Turning for home he was in a great position and was really battling with Epicenter. (Rich Strike) just snuck up our inside and we were third best.”

-Chad Brown, trainer of third-place finisher Zandon

The connections of Rich Strike in the winner's circle. (Eclipse Sportswire)

 “We were pretty far back early but he made a huge run. We’re very proud about the effort.”

-Antonio Sano, who trains fourth-place finisher Simplification

“Mo Donegal all but lost it at the gate. That’s the second year in a row that’s happened to us, even though that new gate gets them further off the rail. But to his credit, he kept trying to the end. Charge It got in a good spot, he came under a drive at the three-eighths pole but that was it. Pioneer of Medina got hot in the paddock. I didn’t get much of a line on him in the race.

-Todd Pletcher, trainer of fifth-place finisher Mo Donegal, seventeenth-place finisher Charge It, and nineteenth-place finisher Pioneer of Medina

“He ran well. We saved ground the first turn and took a chance on the final turn by going really wide. I was hoping it would help him get there but it didn’t give us the result we wanted.”

-Reylu Gutierrez, rider of sixth-place finisher Barber Road

“Tawny Port finished up OK; Cyberknife super disappointed; Zozos was too close to the hot pace. No doubt that was a really hot pace. I’m not sure where this horse was he must have been in the back somewhere. No matter how good you look breezing or in the mornings, you have to have the right setup. And this horse had the right setup today. We’ll live to fight another day.”

-Brad Cox, trainer of seventh-place finisher Tawny Port, tenth-place finisher Zozos, and eighteenth-place finisher Cyberknife

“I had a good trip. Broke clean and had a smooth run through the first turn. I was right with Epicenter when we came to the quarter pole. I popped out to try to go around but just didn't have enough horse. He gave out on me a little bit, so just maybe the distance.”

-Corey Lanerie, jockey of eighth-place finisher Smile Happy

“We didn’t get away from the gate as cleanly as we would like. We ended up a little further back. He ran a pretty good trip, he grinded it out and picked up half the field late.”

-Brian Hernandez Jr, rider of ninth-place finisher Tiz the Bomb

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