Eric Reed, the trainer of last year’s GI Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike (Keen Ice), has resigned, according to statements made by Reed and by one of the owners of the horse, Rick Dawson, early on Thursday morning.
Reed said in a statement, “I regret to announce that I have made a decision to resign as the trainer of Rich Strike. My stint as his trainer has been the joy of a lifetime, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity and the ride the horse has given me and to everyone associated with Reed Racing. Unfortunately, Mr. Dawson has made a demand of me that I simply can’t abide. I have not made this decision lightly, but I have concluded that it is in the best interest of Reed Racing and my family. I wish nothing but the best for Rich Strike and Mr. Dawson going forward.”
Dawson responded via Facebook, saying, “I just received notice that Eric Reed has quit as my trainer. I have to make plans to move all my horses, including Rich Strike, immediately. It appears his agent-manager and Eric are subject to an agreement with Omaha Productions they signed many months ago that may incriminate them regarding possible violation of my trademark and NIL rights as owner of Rich Strike. See agent and Omaha Productions announcements. Life will go on. Go Richie.”
Dawson shared a text from Reed that said, “Rick, I appreciate everything we’ve done together and will always be happy for the history we made. But you’ve put me in a position I never thought I would be in. Any ultimatum is a bad situation. I have to think of family first. With great regret as of now, I am resigning as your trainer. Thank you for the ride, and I will take the absolute best care of your horses while you make plans to relocate them. I’m very sorry it came to this.”
The story was first reported by Ron Flatter’s Horse Racing Nation (HRN), which said that Reed and a spokesperson for Omaha Productions confirmed last Friday that the media company, owned by former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, came to terms on a project to make two motion pictures about the Rich Strike story, including a documentary and a scripted film.
This story will be updated.