Before Saturday, May 7, 2022, very few people would have recognized the name Rich Strike. Today, the horse, Rich Strike has become a household name with his come-from-behind victory in the 2022 Kentucky Derby.
Just last year, Rich Strike’s owner purchased him for $30,000. Far less than the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid for the horses he was racing against. In fact, this horse wasn’t even supposed to be in the race that day!
The Kentucky Derby is made up of the top 20 points holders from a series of races prior to the derby. Rich Strike was not in the top 20. He was number 21. At the last minute, a horse dropped out of the race and Rich Strike moved up to fill that final position. The odds of him winning were 80-1. A long-shot to say the least. As the lowest ranking horse, he began the race in the 20th post position, the farthest on the outside. With only a 1/4 of a mile to go he was still in 15th place. Suddenly, he made his way up the track, passing one horse after another. In the final seconds, to the shock of literally everyone watching, Rich Strike sped to the inside and overtook the expected winner, Epicenter, to take the victory. And the crowd went wild!
I don’t know about you, but I love a good underdog story and this one was a doozy!
It reminds me of King David. David was a little shepherd boy who no one thought much of. Little did they know, one day he would be their king.
The account is found in 1 Samuel 16. God sent the prophet Samuel to the home of Jesse to anoint one of his sons as king. Jesse brought 7 of his 8 sons to pass before Samuel. He didn’t bother to call in his youngest son, David, from the field. David’s own father never even considered that he could be the one. But he was the one. The chosen one of God. Upon Samuel’s request, Jesse called David in from the field and he was anointed as the next king.
And we are reminded that-
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Have you ever felt like the underdog? I have. Many times. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to realize that maybe being the underdog isn’t so bad after all. God roots for the underdog, or so it seems. He enjoys using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Paul said as much in 1 Corinthians 1:27, “Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.”
In other words, He can use little ol’ me and little ol’ you to do incredible things. All we have to do is step into the race. Rich Strike’s owner could have assumed that he was the slowest horse and not even entered him into the race that day. But, I love what he told the reporter who asked him if he ever imagined his horse would win the Kentucky Derby. His answer- “We would never put a horse in a race we didn’t think we could win.”
God placed you on this earth to run the winning race. You are in training. Every obstacle you face in life is used to make you stronger and propel you forward in the race. Paul explains it this way, “…Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
The victory is ours! If you’re on God’s side, you can not lose! So don’t be afraid to get in the race! Don’t be afraid to dream big and do hard things. God is rooting for you!
“. ..let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1