Jockey Kent Desormeaux got a leg up on two of his three graded stakes-winning rides this Saturday from his brother Keith. The pair took home a Grade 3 win early in the card and capped it off with a dominant score in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby aboard Exaggerator. Those wins helped Desormeaux grab this week’s Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week Award. 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.
The pair would kick off their big afternoon earlier in the card with a victory in the Providencia Stakes. Decked Out, trained by Keith Desormeaux, closed from last to first while going five wide around the stretch turn to win the $150,000 stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Keith was quite complimentary of his brother’s handling of the filly.
“There’s no doubt (the added distance helped),” Keith Desormeaux said. “We finally figured it out after 10 races. She doesn’t want to be pushed on, she wants to sit chilly and let her do it on her own, and that’s what Kent did. He never moved on her the whole race. All he does is point her in the right direction.”
The pair would meet again in the paddock a couple of races later for the featured Grade 1 $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby when the Hall of Famer would climb aboard Exaggerator for his older brother in the mile and one eighth Kentucky Derby prep.
Things didn’t start out great as Exaggerator was as many as 16 1/2 lengths back in the early going but seemed to be moving easily through the sloppy surface under Desormeaux. Exaggerator began knocking off horses at the clubhouse turn, and his giant strides through the mud brought him within several lengths of the lead nearing the head of the lane.
Exaggerator made the lead at the top of the stretch, blowing by Danzing Candy like he was “tied to the rail,” according to announcer Michael Wrona. He then drew away under a hand ride to win by 6 1/4 lengths at the wire.
“Well, if he shows up the first Saturday in May like he did today . . . he was ultra-confident today,” said jockey Desormeaux. “He’s so mature and he walked to the gate like an old pony. He left there quiet and comfortable and I think that’s the difference, when a horse lets you drive and they’re not man-handling themselves. He reminded me of Texas Red. He’s that caliber of horse and its extra special to be with Keith, and we don’t even talk too much, it’s all quite understood. All he said in the paddock was, ‘Kent, I’m telling you that I’ve never seen this horse so confident.’ When I galloped off once I was on the track, he took to the track like a duck to water. He never missed a beat and he showed it winning today.”
The three-time Kentucky Derby winner won three races from his 19 mounts, with another three second placings, and two third place finishes. He totaled earnings of $811,785 leading all riders in Stakes earnings for the week.
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.