Hall of Famer Bill Mott to Train 2022 Kentucky Derby Victor Rich Strike

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Rich Strike Kentucky Derby RED TR-Racing Rick Dawson Bill Mott Eric Reed
Rich Strike won the 2022 Kentucky Derby from the outside post position at 80-1 odds in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the race. He has been transferred to the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Rich Strike, the 2022 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve winner, will join the stable of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott when the colt returns from a short break from racing, according to owner Rick Dawson, who races as RED TR-Racing.

Eric Reed had been Rich Strike’s trainer since Reed claimed him from a $30,000 maiden claiming race at Churchill Downs in September 2021, but Reed and Dawson fell out over a dispute related to Reed reaching a film rights’ agreement with Omaha Productions and Amazon Prime. Reed said the production calls for it to detail his life as a trainer, following in the footsteps of his father, Herbert, in the profession, though Dawson questioned how it could not involve Rich Strike and the colt’s Derby win.

According to Dawson, he established a trademark related to Rich Strike and owns the rights to the colt’s story.

The 4-year-old son of Keen Ice was a non-threatening fifth most recently in the May 5 Alysheba Stakes Presented by Sentient Jet at Churchill Downs in his first start of 2023.

“I’m pleased to announce that a decision has been made and an agreement reached with Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott to take over the training duties of Rich Strike — Bill was my first choice,” Dawson wrote in an email to BloodHorse. “Bill and I have had a number of conversations over the last couple weeks and I feel very confident ‘Richie’ will be in great care and oversight. I can’t thank Bill enough for accepting the task of training ‘Richie’ to his full potential.”

Trainer Bill Mott (Eclipse Sportswire)

He added that Rich Strike is “currently turned out and doing well” on the recommendation of renowned veterinarian Dr. Larry Bramlage and that the colt is receiving approximately 30 days of rest before a resumption of training. He and other Dawson-owned horses went to Blackwood Stables in Versailles, Ky., following the split with Reed in mid-May. Reed had trained him at Mercury Training Center just outside Lexington.

“ ‘Richie’ will have another checkup in a week or so and then again in another couple weeks,” Dawson wrote. “Once his condition is as perfect as can be expected and ready for a training schedule, he will move to Bill’s capable management at a location to be determined.”

Mott runs predominantly in Kentucky and New York for much of the year, and in Florida during the winter. He ships horses to stakes races across the country. He keeps a Kentucky division with assistant Kenny McCarthy and maintains stables at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, where he often trains many of his better horses from spring through fall.

Rich Strike, winless in six starts since his 80-1 upset in the Derby, has two wins, one second, and three thirds in 14 starts overall with earnings of more than $2.5 million. He made his first two starts for trainer Joe Sharp and owner-breeder Calumet Farm before he joined Reed and RED TR-Racing.

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