The 2022 Kentucky Derby came to a startling and unexpected “Wow!” finish, as long shot Rich Strike came from behind in the last furlong to cross the finish line ahead of favorites Epicenter and Zandon. At odds of 80-1, Rich Strike’s victory was the second-greatest upset in Derby history, and paid off handsomely for the few clairvoyants who saw it coming. And it almost didn’t happen; as of 8:45 the previous morning, Rich Strike wasn’t even slated to run, but a last-minute scratch by Ethereal Road opened up a spot with two minutes to spare before the 9 AM deadline for registration.
Owner Rick Dawson and trainer Eric Reed were as flabbergasted as anyone when Rich Strike broke out from the field and ran hell-for-leather to the finish line in the last thirty seconds of the race, weaving in and out of other horses with surefooted aplomb, but rider Sonny Leon sensed his mount had it in him to pull it off, in style.
The Derby was held at Churchill Downs on 7 May, 2022, Post Time 6:57 PM EDT in Louisville, Kentucky, and a chart for that moment puts the terrestrial racing form to shame. We’ll be looking at asteroids Derbes (closest to “Derby”), Church and Downs for the venue; Ricco (Italian for “rich”) for Rich Strike; Richard and Dawson for the owner; Eric, Erika (feminine version) and Reid (homophone of “Reed”) for the trainer; and Ride, Leona and Venezuela for rider Sonny Leon, who hails from that South American country. The race is commonly known as “the Run for the Roses” (a garland of which is traditionally draped about the winner’s neck), so we’ll be adding asteroid Rosa, as well as qualifiers Swift, Fast and Champion. We’ll also take a glance at Rich Strike’s birth chart, foaled 25 April 2019.
With the Sun at 17 Taurus conjoined Uranus at 14 Taurus and asteroid Victoria, named for the Roman goddess of victory, at 19 Taurus, a spotlight (Sun) on an upset (Uranus) win (Victoria) might have been expected at the Derby. The Midheaven at 2 Leo, the focus of all eyes, was rapidly beating down the track to the Moon at 5 Leo, itself exactly conjunct asteroid Swift. And it was a fast race from the get-go, with the field heading off more quickly than has been seen at the Derby in years, a sign that early leaders might tire before the finish, opening a pathway for the unexpected.
That 2 Leo MC and 5 Leo Moon with Swift exactly squares Rich Strike’s natal Uranus at 2 Taurus and Sun at 5, an indication in itself that the horse could be known for speed (Uranus), and carries the germ of an upset (also Uranus) win in its cosmic makeup. There’s a T-Square with transit asteroid Nike, exact on the 2 Aquarius IC, opining that, at least in this instance, the race does go to the swift! Natal asteroid Swift at 26 Sagittarius conjoins Jupiter at 23 Sag, which brings luck and fame, as well as ruling horse racing, the sport of kings; the connection to the Galactic center at 27 Sag indicates global notice or attention at some point. Exact with Jupiter is natal Ricco, our celestial stand-in for Rich Strike, and nearby is asteroid Rosa at 22 Sagittarius, for the Run for the Roses, combining the victor with the venue; all these oppose natal asteroid Victoria at 18 Gemini, arbiter of the win. Incredibly, all the Sagittarian points are also at station, making them embedded factors in character and biography, with Jupiter turning retrograde April 10th, followed by Rosa on the 13th, Swift on the 17th and Ricco on the 19th, all still inhabiting their station degrees for Rich Strike’s birth on the 25th.
On Derby Day these were closely opposed by transit asteroid Fast at 23 Gemini, in another T-Square with transit Neptune, asteroid Derbes and Jupiter at 24, 28 and 29 Pisces, a Grand Cross forming with transit asteroids Richard (for owner Rick Dawson) and Champion at 22 and 24 Virgo. Both of the latter were also at station, with Champion turning direct two days after the race, and Richard two days after that. Rich Strike’s natal asteroid Leona (for rider Sonny Leon) joins the party from 29 Virgo, combining the owner (Richard) and the rider (Leona) with the principle of ultimate success (Champion).
The winning team’s fingerprints (hoofprints?) are all over the day, with transit Leona at 5 Pisces conjoined Downs at 10 Pisces, and squared Mercury with asteroid Rosa at 4 and 5 Gemini, for news (Mercury) of Leon’s (Leona) win at the Derby (Downs, Rosa). Transit asteroid Dawson at 16 Pisces also conjoins Downs (though not Leona), while asteroid Eric at 14 Cancer conjoins Ricco at 20 Cancer, opposed Reid at 15 Capricorn and T-Squared Church (for Churchill Downs) at 9 Libra. Church also opposes transit Venus at 6 Aries, the “Lesser Benefic”, which, remarkably, is returning to its natal degree in Rich Strike’s chart, boosting its inherent potential, from where it conjoins a triple conjunction of Mercury with asteroids Erika and Dawson, all at 11 Aries, filling in the empty leg of a Grand Cross.
Rich Strike’s celestial capacity to win is seen in natal asteroid Champion at 0 Sagittarius, which opposes a cluster of asteroids Eric (for trainer Eric Reed), Derbes and Nike (named for the Greek goddess of victory) at 0, 4 and 5 Gemini. With asteroid Reid conjoined the Sun from 13 Taurus, the trainer’s role in this success was pivotal, but much is owed to Venezuelan jockey Sonny Leon, seen as asteroid Ride conjunct Venezuela at 12 and 13 Aquarius, squared Sun/Reid. Asteroid Downs at 15 Taurus represents the race at Churchill Downs, which would put not only Rich Strike, but also his trainer and rider, on the horseracing map. With natal asteroid Fast at 23 Capricorn conjoined Saturn and Pluto at 20 and 23 Cap, squared natal asteroid Church at 24 Aries, Rich Strike had the power (Pluto) and endurance (Saturn) to go the distance and maintain his winning speed (Fast) on the Derby course (Church).
Although he has been an aficionado of horse racing all his life, Rick Dawson only began buying horses six years ago, acquiring Rich Strike for $30,000 in the fall of 2021. Until the Derby, Rich Strike’s career earnings were some $111,000; after the race, he galloped away with $1.86 million. Having caught the brass ring this time, Dawson and Reed are determined to take a shot at the Triple Crown, and hope Rich Strike may join the rarefied atmosphere of the thirteen other champions who have won the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont. “Ritchie”, as he is known in the stables, is champing at the bit to try.