Posts claiming Kentucky Derby jockey snubbed US president repeat old hoax
Social media posts claim Sonny Leon, jockey for 148th Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike, rejected an invitation from the White House and insulted President Joe Biden. The claim is a recycled hoax; the jockey's agent said Leon never made those remarks and that he did not receive an invitation from the White House.
"BREAKING NEWS: 148th Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike jockey Sonny Leon just turned down a White House invite saying 'If I wanted to see a horse's ass I would have came in second,'" said a Facebook post published May 8, 2022 following the spectacular win by the long-shot horse.
Similar claims were shared on Twitter and Instagram.
But the Venezuela-born jockey never made those comments and did not receive a White House invitation, his agent told AFP.
"That's completely rubbish," Jeff Perrin said in a phone interview. "Sonny doesn't follow politics. And we never received any invitation" from the White House.
Leon was the jockey for Rich Strike, an 80-1 longshot and just the second horse to win the Kentucky Derby from the 20th post since the modern starting gate was introduced in 1930.
In post-race comments, Leon said he tried to keep the ride "nice and easy" and "waited for my moment and I came through on the stretch."
The false claim also circulated online in 2021 about a different winning Derby jockey. Similar posts were shared following the 2019 race when Donald Trump was president.