KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — AJ Cucksey of Knoxville and his grandfather attended the Kentucky Derby on Saturday and had a day to remember, beating the odds in more way than one.
AJ and his grandfather attended the “fastest two minutes in sports” at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky decked out in Tennessee Volunteer orange.
As a lover of sports, this trip to the Kentucky Derby with his grandpa was already enough to be an unforgettable day before long shot horse “Rich Strike” pulled off a shocking come-from-behind win. The Prayers for AJ Cucksey page posted a photo of AJ smiling and holding a winning ticket on the 2022 Kentucky Derby-winning thoroughbred.
At 80-1 odds, Rich Strike became the second-longest shot to win in Kentucky Derby history. Rich Strike paid $163.60. Only Donerail in 1913 had a higher payout of $184.90.
A $15 bet with 80-1 odds would net a payout of $1,200.
In the fall of 2014, the Cucksey family was in Walt Disney World when AJ began developing issues with his coordination and walking. After the trip, he was referred to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital where doctors discovered multiple inoperable tumors in AJ’s brain.
Now, 8 years later, AJ is still receiving treatments to reduce the swelling and pressure on his brain.
Cucksey underwent an MRI and echocardiogram in late January, according to the Prayers for AJ page, and the results were good.
The next posts on his Facebook page were taken at the Derby, including one with a photo of AJ in his dapper suit, holding up the slip from his wager with the caption: “Now that’s the winning ticket!”