//Sonny León, a venezuelan rider who did the impossible
Sonny León gana el Derby de Kentucky 2022

Sonny León, a venezuelan rider who did the impossible

For some people, Sonny Leon was the surprise of the Churchill Downs, during the Kentucky Derby. For others, it was only a matter of time before Sonny León achieved what he achieved on May 7, 2022. The risky style of the rider has led him to be sanctioned. However, the kentucky Derby winner with his aggressive style managed to advance his goal, to become the best rider in the world. That is why today we will meet Sonny León, the Venezuelan rider who achieved the impossible.

Sonny León has been ascending strongly in his career as a rider as we will see later. His rider profile proves it. He is currently listed among the most outstanding Venezuelan riders. Sonny León, the Venezuelan rider, is a rising star. That is why today we will tell you more about his story, the important victory at Churchill Downs Racecourse and the risks facing his career in the future.

The victory of Sonny León, Venezuelan rider, in the 2022 Kentucky Derby is the confirmation of a race on the rise, as we will discover below.

The importance of the victory of Sonny León, Venezuelan rider, in the Kentucky Derby is undoubted. But to understand it we will know a little more about this important race. Let’s know a little about the Kentucky Derby.

We leave you with an interview just before the race to your delight.

Trainer Eric Reed got his Rich Strike into the Kentucky Derby at the last minute


The classic Kentucky Derby and the victory of Sonny León.

The Kentucky Derby is the first race in the so-called American Triple Crown of horse racing.

In horse racing, a triple crown is called a set of 3 selected races that are carried out with the participation of three-year-old thoroughbreds. A three-year-old horse is a horse that is still considered a foal.

In the races of the Triple Crown only the best horses and jockeys participate. We can intuit that Sonny León, the Venezuelan rider, was already beginning to demonstrate the potential he had. However, despite his potential, his arrival in the Kentucky Derby was only a fluke, as we will see later.

The Kentucky Derby is held at Churchill Downs Racecourse. Churchill Dows was inaugurated on the first Saturday of May in 1985 to hold the first Kentucky Derby. But at that time Churchill Downs Racecourse was called the Louisville Jockey Club and Driving Park Association. It was in 1937 when it takes the name with which we know it today.

The Kentucky Derby is a race that contains a lot of history. Currently it has 147 years of realization and by 2025 it will celebrate 150 years of history. It is the oldest horse race in the United States that is still held. Even if we consider all sports, the Kentucky Derby is the oldest sporting event still held annually.

But Sonny León is not the first Venezuelan rider to win the Kentucky Derby. Let’s know a little more about Gustavo Avila, the first Venezuelan rider to win the Kentucky Derby.


Kentucky Derby 2022 (FULL RACE) | NBC Sports

The different names of the Kentucky Derby for fans

The Kentucky Derby is given different names. On the one hand, fans of speed and horses call it “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”. This name is due to the approximate time that horses last to travel the mile and a quarter of travel. In addition to speed, we are talking about the best horses in the United States and perhaps the world.

Undoubtedly, when we look at the videos of Sonny León’s spectacular race, we can understand why they call it “the most exciting 2 minutes of the sport”. And in the case of Sonny León, the Rich Strike horse is a long-distance runner horse as Sonny León indicated in an interview. This means that the horse has its best moment in the last meters of the race. In addition, Sonny’s strategy was to bet on a longer distance of the Kentucky Derby, compared to other races.

That’s how watching Sonny Leon come back from the last positions was incredible. And watching Sonny and Rich Strike pull off a nearly full-body win were the most exciting 2 minutes of 2022.

No doubt the Kentucky Derby has its name well earned.

On the other hand, the Kentucky Derby is also known as “The Run for the Roses”. This is because the winner of the Kentucky Derby has a crown of roses placed around the neck of the horse and rider.

These traditions are part of the spectacular history of the Kentucky Derby, of which Sonny León the Venezuelan rider, became a part.

Gustavo Avila, the first Venezuelan rider to win the Kentucky Derby.

Before Sonny León, there was a Venezuelan rider who achieved the impossible. His name is Gustavo Ávila and he was the first Venezuelan rider to win the Kentucky Derby.

This Venezuelan rider on the back of the horse Cañonero II achieved a historic victory for Venezuela. This horse, although not born in Venezuela, arrived at a young age in Venezuela and was trained and bred in this beautiful country.

One of the reasons why Gustavo Ávila’s victory was surprising was by Cañonero II. Cañonero II arrived in Venezuela because they could not sell it in the United States. A malformation in one of his hooves led him to be rejected, despite being a descendant of the famous Pretendere and the mare Dixieland II. However, the malformation in his hoof kept him out of the market until he was taken to Venezuela and sold for just under five thousand dollars.

For his part, Gustavo Ávila, nicknamed “the monster” is one of the most prolific and successful Venezuelan riders. Between 1954 and 1985 he won 1472 races. He also won the following races:

  • The first International Caribbean Classic in 1966.
  • The Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in 1971.
  • Won 3 times the Simón Bolívar Classic Grand Prix.
  • Won 6 times the Classic President of the Republic

Until Sonny León’s victory he was the only Venezuelan rider to have won a race for the U.S. triple crown. Gustavo Ávila not only won one race but two.

The Kentucky Derby is considered the most important race of the triple crown and of the United States. For some it is the most important race in the world. That’s why the victory of Sonny León, the Venezuelan rider, is even more important.

Gustavo Ávila congratulated Sonny León on his victory in the Kentucky Derby
Gustavo Ávila congratulated Sonny León on his victory in the Kentucky Derby

The trajectory of Sonny León, the Venezuelan rider

For some Sonny León seems to have surprisingly reached the podium of the Kentucky Derby. For those who follow the equestrian sport and those who follow the career of Sonny León was the affirmation of a career on the rise.

During his career, to date the Venezuelan rider Sonny León has won 772 races and reached 2307 podiums in 5,187 races. This means that he has reached the podium more than 40% of the time he has raced. But this has been increasing… For the 2022 season Sonny León has reached the podium in 53% of the races, winning almost 18% of the races. As we say Sonny León, the Venezuelan rider, is a rising star.

So have their gains from competitions grown significantly. This is because he has participated in very important competitions increasing not only the number of victories but their amount.

Thus, in 2015 his earnings per race were $ 1,096 while for 2,022 he has reached about $ 8,550 per race. Without a doubt, Sonny León is not a surprise but a Venezuelan rider on the rise.

The most interesting thing is that his arrival at the Kentucky Derby was a coincidence, but we will talk about it in more detail.

Sonny León the Venezuelan Rider in the Kentucky Derby
Sonny León the Venezuelan Rider in the Kentucky Derby

Sonny León’s future obstacles to his career and his victories.

Venezuelan rider Sonny León knows that opportunities must be sought. That is why he is a rider with great passion that has sometimes taken its toll. That is why he has had several sanctions and suspensions in his career. Right after the Kentucky Derby he received a penalty that forced him to have 4 days of suspension.  Thank God, Sonny Leon will be able to be present for the next race of the American triple crown Preakness Stakes, to be held in Baltimore.

And it is that the suspension applied is related to a previous race, but it is not the only one during this year. During 2022 it has accumulated 5 suspensions with which it accumulates the total of 32 days inactive. Despite this, we see that Sonny León’s numbers are excellent.

His passion leads him to be on the podium, but it also brings him problems, perhaps this may harm him in the future. That is why Sonny León must take care of this in his near future.

Details on his suspension after the Kentucky Derby

The current suspension is due to a penalty for sloppy driving. On the back of the mare “One Glamorous Gal” the Venezuelan rider blocked the horses that tried to overtake him inside, which caused a dangerous situation. Maybe he did it unconsciously or maybe he did it in the heat of the race. The truth is that Sonny’s aggressive style currently rewards him, but he can also reap problems in the future. We hope he achieves the balance to continue showing his talent.

Sonny Leon’s agent said of the Venezuelan rider’s situation “You have to be aggressive to win.” He declined to comment further but gave his full support to the Venezuelan rider. It was this intensity that led him to win the Kentucky Derby.

Sonny León, a Venezuelan rider who achieves the impossible with effort and dedication.

The Venezuelan rider has shown us that perseverance is the best tool. His constant preparation has put him in unbeatable conditions to take advantage of the opportunity in the Kentucky Derby.

Today he is the best Venezuelan rider in the United States. He is currently even ahead of the famous Emisael Jaramillo in the U.S. horse racing rankings. A star that we will have to keep track of in the coming years.