AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There is still a buzz not only around the racing world but at Hollywood Mahoning Valley Race Course as one of their own, Sonny Leon, rode Rich Strike to an improbable Kentucky Derby win.
“I think when Sonny went out there, he was clearly laying it all out on the line,” said Elizabeth Rogers the Assistant Director of Racing at Hollywood Mahoning Valley Race Course. “He knew this was his chance, this was his opportunity. And if you go back and watch the race how he weaved through the traffic to get that horse through, and you can see the horse wanted it as well.”
Leon is no stranger to racing in Ohio. He has raced at Belterra in Cincinnati, Thistledown in Cleveland and is a regular at Mahoning Valley Race Course. 312 all-time wins in Austintown, being their leading rider four times.
“He is a great guy, he is very nice, very humble,” Rogers says. “He has been our leading rider here since fall of 2020, and when I had a chance to meet him for the first time and talk to him about what it meant he was just so incredibly grateful.”
For now, Leon and Rich Strike will put their focus on the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown. And Rogers said pay attention when you’re out on the track because you never know whose chance might come next.
“Exactly, you never know. There are a lot of good riders out there that have a lot of talent and they are just looking for their lucky break,” said Rogers. “And I am so glad Sonny found that break and chance to show what we have seen here for the last several years on how good of a rider he really is.”