Desormeaux sees 'so much upside' in a move to Fair Grounds

By Grant LaGrange/Fair Grounds
November 21, 2019 04:09pm
Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, who has won more than 6,000 races during his illustrious career, will return to Louisiana to ride the winter meet at Fair Grounds, marking his first full-time meet in his home state since 1986.

From there, Desormeaux cut his teeth in Maryland, where he was an Eclipse Award-winning apprentice at age 16. He became the youngest rider to reach 3,000 wins at age 25 in 1997; the youngest jockey to surpass $100 million in career earnings at 27; and just last January, one of 18 jockeys to hit the 6,000 mark.

Desormeaux, now 49, says he still has goals to achieve and hopes that a winter at Fair Grounds can put his career back in gear. This season, as tracks in California have experienced horse shortages, Desormeaux is among those riders with business suffering.

“Instead of waiting, I figured I’ll take it into my own hands and it won't matter what they do in California,” said Desormeaux, who has won on 34 of 269 mounts in 2019. “I was looking for more opportunity. The move was easy just because there is so much upside at Fair Grounds.

"Getting to ride 10 horse fields and having more mounts is a satisfying relief.”

Other departures from California include Martin Garcia, who moved his tack to Churchill Downs in Kentucky, and Joe Talamo, who will start riding next year at Oaklawn Park.

Desormeaux, born and raised in Maurice, La., also looked to his brother, Keith Desormeaux, for an opinion on his own move.

“Just talking with Keith one day I mentioned I was thinking of coming back home to Louisiana,” Kent said. “Keith said if I were willing to make the move, he would send some horses here and I would ride for him all winter.

"I didn’t have a plan. I just knew I wanted to come home and ride and Keith was more than willing to support me."

Kent Desormeaux also has longtime ties with Ron Faucheux and one of Faucheux’s owners, Jeff Picard.

“Jeff Picard initiated the move,” Desormeaux said. “When I was 13 I would ride horses in his backyard. I’ll ride for him, and it's good to show all of the other trainers that I'm boots on the ground and ready to work. I'm really happy to be here.”

Desormeaux is named to ride six races on Thanksgiving, opening day at Fair Grounds: Race 2 (Magic Vow), Race 4 (Nicky’s Guitar), Race 5 (Britt’s A Closer), Race 6 (Confederate Yell), Race 8 (Killeen) and Race 9 (Gold Czar).

 

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