'An incredible story': The Manitoba connection to the Kentucky Derby winner

Rich Strike, the horse who shocked the world with his Kentucky Derby win this weekend, has a special familial connection to Manitoba.

According to Darren Dunn, CEO of Assiniboia Downs, Rich Strike’s mom, named Gold Strike, is from Manitoba.

“The mother of the Kentucky Derby winner was born and bred in Manitoba. She began her racing career at Assiniboia Downs,” he said in an interview on Sunday.

Dunn noted he used to announce races for Gold Strike, noting she won a couple of races here in Manitoba.

“She went on to Woodbine, where she turned into an elite filly. [She] won the Woodbine Oaks, the top three-year-old filly race in Canada, ran third in the Queen’s Plate,” he said.

Dunn said the horse ultimately became a brood mare.

“Who would have guessed that she would go on to be the mother of a Kentucky Derby winner?” he said “That is just an incredible story.”

On Saturday, Rich Strike, an 80-1 longshot, won the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race.

Dunn described the win as jaw dropping.

“Shocker. Incredible rally, and a real rags to riches story. So happy for the people connected,” he said.

Dunn said he knew of Rich Strike’s Manitoba connection before Saturday’s race, but thought it was unlikely he would end up racing, let alone win.

“It wasn’t supposed to go into the race, but if a horse scratched out of the main body of 20 that were originally put together as the field, if one of them came out, this horse would be able to come,” he explained.

“Sure enough on Friday at the last minute one came out, freed up a spot, Rich Strike was in the race.”

- With files from CTV’s Danny Halmarson and The Associated Press.