Did Donald Trump Bet on Rich Strike? Former POTUS Attended the Kentucky Derby

Danielle Letenyei - Author
By

May 10 2022, Published 12:24 p.m. ET

The historic upset win of longshot Rich Strike at the 148th Kentucky Derby on May 7 wasn’t the only excitement at the event. Some attendees were also excited to see former President Donald Trump in the stands. Did Trump bet on Rich Strike?

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Trump was at a Super PAC fundraiser.

There isn’t any information available on whether Trump bet on Rich Strike or any horse in the race for that matter. He showed up at the event for a $75,000 per person fundraiser for his Super PAC “MAGA, Again!”

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According to an article in The New York Times, executives at Churchill Downs weren't aware the former POTUS would be attending the event. When he arrived, officers with the Kentucky State Police and the FBI snuck him into the fundraiser using tarps and sheets, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

About 20 minutes before the horses left the gate, Trump appeared on a large screen at the racetrack. Fans cheered and chanted, “USA! USA! USA! USA!” while anti-Trumpers booed.

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At the fundraiser, Trump was joined by former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, and former Fox News reporter-turned-Trump adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle, The New York Times reports.

“MAGA, Again!” (or “Make America Great Again, Again!”) is a Trump-endorsed Super PAC that works to get Trump-endorsed candidates elected across the country. Bondi is chairman of the political group.

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The rumor that Rich Strike’s jockey turned down a White House invite is false.

As most of the country knows now, 80-1 longshot Rich Strike pulled out in front of the other horses in the last seconds of the Kentucky Derby and won the race. Jockey Sonny Leon rode the winning horse. A rumor has been circulating that Leon turned down an invitation to the White House after the win saying, “If I wanted to see a horse’s ass, I would have come in second.” The rumor is false and almost identical to jokes circulated in past years, reports Snopes.com.

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Donald Trump called the Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Eric Reed.

However, Rich Strike’s trainer Eric Reed did apparently have a conversation with Trump after the race. According to a Twitter post by Reed that user Tara Cochran shared, the conversation was set up by Fox News personalities Sean Hannity and Janice Dean.

“As if it wouldn’t get any better. I had a call from President Trump last night!! We spent much longer talking than I ever could have imagined. Thank you, Sean Hannity and Janice Dean, for making this happen and of course to you Mr. President!!” reads Reed’s tweet.

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Some suggest Trump’s appearance at the Kentucky Derby is a snub to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Kentucky is McConnell’s home state. Although Trump and McConnell were buddy-buddy during Trump’s presidency, the two have been at odds since McConnell opposed Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, reports The New York Times.

McConnell often attends the Derby but missed it this year to attend a memorial for Senator Orrin Hatch, the Times reports.

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