Jockey Kent Desormeaux teamed up with his brother Keith on Saturday to win the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes aboard Exaggerator. That win led to Desormeaux being named the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for May 16th – May 22nd. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
Second choice Exaggerator, who finished second behind Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago at Churchill Downs, received a ground-saving trip from Desormeaux and would eventually prevail over ten rivals in the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (Grade I) at Pimlico Race Course.
After losing to Nyquist in their previous four meetings, the pair finally broke through with a dominating performance at the racetrack where Kent launched his Hall of Fame career nearly 30 years ago and his brother Keith began his path towards a career in thoroughbred training.
Those early years riding at Pimilco certainly paid off according to Desormeaux’s post-race quotes.
“I can’t even fathom it. It’s going to take a while. I’m in shock right now. I think that Nyquist had company all the way around the course. They stayed really wide. For the [trouble] I’ve had in his previous starts, I had a dream trip today. I was on the fence and they all stayed wide. These turns, you want to paint the fence. We did, they didn’t and, not for nothing, but knowledge is power.”
Desormeaux, a two-time Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey, won his first Preakness Stakes in 1998 aboard Real Quiet. He would capture another in 2008 when he piloted Big Brown to victory in the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
The native of Louisiana began his career at Evangeline Downs in 1986. After immediate success he moved north to compete on the Maryland racing circuit in 1987 where his performance earned him the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey. In each of his first three years racing in Maryland, Desormeaux won more races than any other jockey in the United States.
Desormeaux, along with Chris McCarron, Steve Cauthen, and Julien Leparoux are the only jockeys to win the Eclipse Award in both the apprentice and overall categories. Desormeaux’s career has produced numerous individual honors including the 1993 George Woolf Award, the 2009 Bill Hartack Award, and a 2004 induction into the Thoroughbred racing Hall of Fame.
The Preakness Stakes was Desormeaux’s only win for the week from his three mounts. His mounts total earnings of $904,845 led all North American riders.
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JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, The Daily Racing Form, Equibase, Horse Racing Nation, The Jockeys’ Guild, The Paulick Report, The Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America.