Rich Strike Camp Sets Sights on Dubai World Cup

Fan favorite Rich Strike, the upset winner of last year's Kentucky Derby (G1), will be headed to the Middle East to compete in the $12 million March 25 Dubai World Cup (G1), according to trainer Eric Reed. The 4-year-old son of Keen Ice, unraced since a sixth-place finish in the Nov. 25 Clark Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs, came back into training after a 40-day freshening at Hill 'n' Dale Farm at Xalapa. The RED TR-Racing-owned colt has recorded two works so far this year, both at Mercury Equine Center in Lexington. He most recently breezed five furlongs in 1:03.10 Jan. 28, the fastest of 22 timed works over that distance. "He's doing great; he has had two workouts and has another one this weekend, probably at Turfway," Reed told BloodHorse Feb. 2. "I got a great video of him training today. We're excited for sure." Rich Strike was diagnosed with a respiratory infection coming out of the Clark. Three weeks prior, he ran to a fourth-place finish behind 2022 Horse of the Year Flightline in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland. The colt's initial target was the Feb. 25 $20 million Saudi Cup in Riyadh. "We won't make the Saudi Cup," Reed said. "It was our plan after the Breeders' Cup, but we decided to go on and pursue the Clark Stakes, which led to another 24 days of rest time for Richey. "After we ran him, we still gave him some rest time and thought there might be an outside chance to make Saudi, but we have decided we will go ahead and aim for Dubai. It will give us more than enough time to prepare for that race if all goes well with training. Then we won't have to push him so hard." Rich Strike was propelled to the spotlight after capturing the 2022 Kentucky Derby as the 80-1 longshot and currently sits on a record of 2-1-3 in 13 career starts at 2 and 3 with earnings of $2,508,989. After the Derby, the colt was sixth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) before putting together a respectable end to his 3-year-old campaign. He was beaten a neck for third in the Travers Stakes (G1) behind Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old Epicenter, Cyberknife, and Zandon and followed up that effort with a heartbreaking nose defeat to top older horse Hot Rod Charlie in a thrilling rendition of the Lukas Classic Stakes (G2).