LOUSIVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — At one point in our lives, we've built inseparable relationships.
Perhaps it's a spouse, partner, or friend. Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike has formed his own special bond. Often you'll see his groom, Jerry Dixon Jr. alongside the three-year-old colt.
"I had knots in my stomach," Dixon said thinking back to the 148th running. "That's definitely what I do remember. Like I couldn't really breathe. It was hard to talk."
It was the day he had a front-row seat to watch his horse shock the world.
"This horse means the world to me, honestly," Dixon said. "It's my family, then it's Richie."
Dixon helps keep Rich Strike healthy, clean, and safe.
"I couldn't picture myself doing anything other than what I'm doing now," he said. "The love I have for the horse. I can't express it. Can't put it into words."
"Before we even got to the dirt, we were in the stall," Dixon added. "I had a moment with Richie. I was in the stall with him. Talking to him. I took a deep breath, he took a deep breath, and the rest is history honestly."
We know the rest of what happened in the historic moment. The long-shot Rich Strike finished on top at the Derby.
"This horse is going to take us places we haven't been before," Dixon said. "Not just myself, but the owner, the trainer of course. I'm just here to enjoy the ride honestly and to do my best to keep the horse safe."
"Richie means to me, he's like a kid. He's like my kid honestly. That's how I look at him. Have to make sure the kid is taken care of. I put Richie before myself sometimes."