Derby winner Rich Strike bit Churchill Downs’ lead pony and got punched for it

Everyone is talking about this, so we will too.

Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike was clearly “jacked up” on adrenalin (or perhaps something else), and could easily have gotten loose and harmed himself or others. So action needed to be immediate and successful.

Insofar as punching the horse is concerned, we will let you view it for yourself and decide.

We thought we should show you as much as possible as some clips making the rounds do not show all that went on, and potentially misleading.


Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike turns aggressive following his victory at Churchill Downs.


Tuesday’s Horse editor Vivian says:

I have been watching the Kentucky Derby for decades. My father was a racecourse doctor at Churchill. I have never seen a horse behave to the extent Rich Strike did after a race. He was wild-eyed, throwing his head around, trying to take a bite out of his lead horse. He had to be got under control somehow and quickly, especially at a racecourse packed with people. It was a highly volatile situation.

In the meantime, look at all the ‘junk’ in the poor horse’s mouth.”

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Tuesday’s Horse

Official Blog of The Fund for Horses

4 thoughts on “Derby winner Rich Strike bit Churchill Downs’ lead pony and got punched for it”

  1. Thank you for your excellent comments as always Carolyn.

    Everything seemed to be totally out of control this year. It was shockingly bad.

    We are preparing a letter to CDI with demands to make it safer… for everyone.


  2. Looking at this clip it appears to me that Rich Strike bit the pony before the outrider acted. The action taken by Blasi (the outrider) was brutal, he did not employ horsemanship which made it worse in that Rich Strike was feeling much more pain now and reacted, so Blasi gets stuck into him even more…? Nauseating violence inflicted on this poor horse witnessed by millions of the public worldwide. And the industry is forever bleating that it treats its horses like Royalty…?
    And in doing this, Blasi’s horse (outrider’s pony) is also abused by Blasi. Poor thing’s mouth with the way his brutal hands on the reins jerked his head around and horse rears up with a very distressed Rich Strike right beside him continuing to be abused by Blasi. I really think that if Rich Strike had’ve been managed with horsemanship immediately when he first bit the pony the situation would’ve been significantly diffused.
    Yes, Vivian all that crap in his mouth causing him pain whilst enduring high stress exercise and being whipped. And the red hood which seemed to have half blinkers near his eyes which of course obstructs part of his vision making him insecure. The look in his eye speaks volumes.

    Pre-race parading – couldn’t help to notice the huge number of people so close to the horses, if a horse got spooked and reared, kicked out or escaped from his handlers then people could be badly hurt or even worse. Also why risk something going wrong with these horses about to run in the famous Kentucky Derby ?

    Post race scenario left me speechless. All those people in front of, beside and behind the horses. The last thing these spent horses need is to be in such a hideous environment. I think it was Tiz The Moment who displayed discomfort along with a few others – there could’ve been a nasty incident for horse and people. The strappers leading the horses back looked anxious. Supervisors and some strappers calling out warnings to people of the danger. I simply cannot fathom why the horses aren’t in a horse/strapper only gated laneway being a good distance away from fenced off people. Some of the top global racetracks have underground laneways from the track to the stalls out the back.
    But maybe Churchill Downs doesn’t want to spend the money on that.

    Liked by 2 people

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