Video from NBC Sports’ broadcast of the Derby shows Churchill Downs outrider Greg Blasi 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 Blasi 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.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said in a statement that it plans to file a complaint against Blasi.
On Monday morning, Rich Strike trainer Eric Reed offered his perspective on the incident during an interview with the “Today” show. Speaking from Lexington, Reed praised the outrider for his efforts in trying to get Rich Strike to calm down after an intense race.
Rich Strike at one point had 99-1 odds to win the roses, but closed at 80-1right before the gates opened. His comeback win, where he came out of nowhere in the final stretch to surpass the favorite, ended up being one of the more shocking victories in recent memory.