Kentucky-bred Rich Strike headlines a field of seven runners—all bred in the Bluegrass—that will decide the $750,000 Clark S. (G1) at Churchill Downs on Friday, Nov. 25.

Owned by Red-TR Racing, Rich Strike was an 80-1 upset winner of the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) in May. In addition to his Derby victory, the son of Keen Ice also finished third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks S. (G3) at Turfway Park and finished second to Hot Rod Charlie in the Lukas Classic (G2) at Churchill in his first try against older horses in October. Rich Srike most recently finished a troubled fourth in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) after racing extremely wide on the backstretch.

“After the Breeders’ Cup, we weren’t originally thinking the Clark, but he came out of the race so good,” said trainer Eric Reed. “In the Classic, he was forced wide after Epicenter pulled up and he still managed fourth. He ran a good race, and he’s trained well since then. We’re excited to get him back to his favorite track here at Churchill.”

Bred by Calumet Farm, Rich Strike is a winner in two of 12 lifetime starts and he has banked more than $2.5 million during his racing career. He is produced from the Smart Strike mare Gold Strike and was a $30,000 claim by his connections out of his maiden-breaking win at Churchill Downs in September of 2021.

Set to challenge Rich Strike are fellow Kentucky-breds West Will Power, Fulsome and Last Samurai, the top three finishers from the Fayette S (G2) at Keeneland. In that race, West Will Power registered a 6 ¾-length front-running score over stablemate Fulsome with Last Samurai third.

A Gary and Mary West homebred, West Will Power is a son of Bernardini who began his 5-year-old campaign at Ellis Park in August, finishing second to Injunction, another Clark entrant, in the R.A. Cowboy Jones S. West Will Power won his next start, a 1 1/8-mile allowance event at Churchill downs prior to his dominant victory in the Fayette.

Another top contender in the Clark is Godolphin’s Proxy. Trained by Mike Stidham, Proxy was on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in 2021 when he finished second in the Lecomte S. (G3) and Risen Star S. (G2). The son of Tapit went to the sidelines following a fourth-place finish in the Lexington S. (G3). This season at four, he owns runner-up efforts in the New Orleans Classic (G2) and the Blame S. and third-place finishes in the Ben Ali S. (G3) and the Stephen Foster S. (G2).