(CNN)Nearly six years ago, Eric Reed astir called it quits from the equine grooming business.
A occurrence engulfed 1 of the barns astatine his Lexington, Kentucky, equine center, successful the mediate of a December night, sidesplitting 23 thoroughbred horses and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars successful damage.
"When we drove up connected that that night, I told my wife, I said, 'we've astir apt mislaid everything,' " Reed recounted this week. "The adjacent morning, erstwhile we saw the devastation ... I conscionable thought of each the years and each the worldly we had done to get this beauteous workplace and to person this happen, that thing mightiness beryllium telling maine it's the extremity of the line."
That was 2016.
Reed didn't springiness up, and with friends -- and sometimes strangers -- who showed up to help, helium continued training. "I conscionable decided, I wasn't going to fto it instrumentality maine out."
It paid off: Reed is present a Kentucky Derby winner.
Rich Strike, the equine helium trains, entered arsenic the biggest agelong changeable successful the contention (80-1 odds) and surged guardant successful the location agelong to transverse the decorativeness enactment archetypal with a 2:02.61 time.
The triumph was each the much stunning due to the fact that Rich Strike wasn't adjacent successful the tract until Friday, erstwhile derby officials announced different equine pulled out. Reed told reporters helium brought his squad down a fewer days earlier the race, connected the anticipation the equine mightiness get a accidental to run, to statesman preparing "against each odds."
"Nobody thought we could get in," helium said. When the equine came successful archetypal place, Reed astir passed out. Rich Strike is his archetypal winning equine successful the derby.
"Everybody would emotion to triumph the Derby. I ever would, but I ne'er thought I would beryllium here, ever," Reed said.
Venezuelan jockey Sonny Leon, successful his archetypal Kentucky Derby, rode Rich Strike to the astonishment victory. Rich Strike is owned by RED TR-Racing, LLC, according to the derby's website.
The adjacent limb of the coveted Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, volition beryllium tally astatine Pimlico Race Course successful Baltimore, Maryland, connected May 21.
CNN's Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.