Did winning Kentucky Derby jockey Sonny Leon turn down a White House invitation, saying he didn't want to see "a horse's ass"? No, that's not true: This is a fake quote that has been recycled since at least 2018 and previously debunked by Lead Stories.
The claim appeared in a Facebook post on May 8, 2022. Beside the image of jockey Sonny Leon at what appears to be a horse racing track, the post reads:
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' 🐎🏆
This is what the post looked like at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon May 9 17:37:26 2022 UTC)
This claim has been falsely attributed to various previous Kentucky Derby winners, including to the winning horse in one instance.
The earliest version was found in a June 10, 2018, Reddit post that cited this quote as a joke about "Triple Crown winner Justify." In 2021, Lead Stories debunked the exact claim in this post -- which was falsely attributed to jockey John Velazquez.
On May 8, 2022, the same day this post was published, Leon was really quoted saying:
'You know we had a difficult post but I know the horse. I didn't know if he could win but I had a good feeling with him. I had to wait until the stretch and that's what I did. I waited and then the rail opened up. I wasn't nervous, I was excited. Nobody knows my horse like I know my horse.'
There was no reference in his remarks to a White House invitation.
Lead Stories reached out to Leon's agent regarding this claim and will update this story if a response is received.