Video from NBC Sports’ broadcast of the Derby shows a Churchill Downs outrider and jockey Sonny Leon struggling to get Rich Strike under control in the moments after the race. At 80-1 odds, Rich Strike surged past the favorite, Epicenter, and Zandon down the stretch to become the second-biggest longshot to win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.
After crossing the finish line, Rich Strike can be seen nipping at the lead pony’s neck and its reins, which prompts the outrider to begin punching the horse’s face.
“Still trying to get this horse under control here,” NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico says during the clip. “… still trying to bite the pony here as they try to get him under control.”
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The post-race moment sparked plenty of reactions on social media, with some Twitter users cracking jokes about the chaotic moment and others questioning/justifying the outrider’s decision to punch Rich Strike.
Twitter reacts to Rich Strike biting pony, getting punched after winning Kentucky Derby
1. How is a professional jockey in such poor control of his horse?
2. I have to wonder if a horse showing that kind of aggression is on something.
— Jac (@JacUnderATree) May 8, 2022
People who have spent time around horses understand this. You aren’t going to injure a 1000 lb animal by punching it. I have punched our horses in the nose when they are pushy and I could possibly be hurt. They are fine. They bite asserting dominance
— Barn This Way (@docmo81) May 8, 2022
“I came to win a race and eat my competition. And I already won the race.”
— Marielle (@TheNolaChick) May 7, 2022
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This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike bites at Churchill Downs guide pony