RICH STRIKE is back at Churchill Downs, where he etched his way into history earlier this year on the first Saturday in May.
Saturday he will run in the $500,000 dollar Lukas Classic Stakes. The 1 1/8 miles race is named in honor of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
RICH STRIKE who has not hit the board in his two starts since the Run for the Roses, is the 6-1 fourth choice in a field of six 3-year-olds and up.
HOT ROD CHARLIE, who ran 3rd in the 2021 Kentucky Derby, 4th in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and 2nd in this year’s Dubai World Cup, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the contest.
ART COLLECTOR, Winner of the 2020 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and a Winner of 10 of his 19 career races including his two most recent outings, is second choice at 2-1.
HAPPY SAVER, runner-up in the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga in August, checks in at 5-2.
Rounding out the field are KING FURY (15-1) and CHESS CHIEF (20-1).
Since his shocking Derby Win RICH STRIKE has run 6th in the Belmont Stakes and 4th in the Travers.
But he has Won both his previous starts over the Churchill Downs strip. Horses for courses, perhaps?
“This is his first shot against these older horses that are pretty seasoned, but he’s doing awful good, and this will set us up for something in the next four-to-six weeks,” said trainer Eric Reed.
A Victory by RICH STRIKE in the Lukas Classic would make him the first Kentucky Derby Winner to return to Churchill Downs and Win since SILVER CHARM– the 1997 Derby Winner took the 1998 Clark Handicap (G2) beneath the Twin Spires.
The Lucas Classic is listed as race 10 on a card of 11 with a scheduled Post Time of 5:25.