LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – “The love I have for that animal is unmatched for anything,” said groom Jerry Dixon Jr.
Overcoming 80-1 odds to claim a shocking win at Churchill Downs at the 148th Kentucky Derby.
“For us to be there at the last moment praying that we got in, just begging for a chance and we got the chance and he answered for us,” said Dixon
Just moments before one of the biggest races of his life, with the eyes of the world watching, Rich Strike’s groom said it was just him and his horse.
“As I am in the stall with him, I put my hands on him and I drop my head, I say a few words to God and as I said Amen and I took a deep breath, the horse took a deep breath with me,” said Dixon. “I was jumping up and down screaming Richie, that is what I call him that is what everybody calls him at the farm. It is a dream come true.”
Dixon has 13 years worth of work and he is finally part of a story that will go down in history.
“If you are going to wake up at 4 a.m. in the morning and come clean stalls, fill water buckets, feed them, you have to take pride in that,” said Dixon. “We spend more time with the animal than the trainer, than the jockey, than the exercise rider, so if you do not form that bond, it is fighting a losing battle.”
Dixon said the win proves you can be considered an underdog and still be a champion.
“Being a black man grooming horses, I have always had to prove myself to show myself to people in a different light and I am thankful and grateful I have had that opportunity,” said Dixon.