Desormeaux does it with ease -- again
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Kent Desormeaux and Fusaichi Pegasus make
a perfect pair.
Just two years after Desormeaux hit the pinnacle of his career with a Kentucky Derby victory aboard Real Quiet, he easily won his second Derby, hand-riding favorite Fusaichi Pegasus to a 1½-length victory.
The jockey has been aboard the feisty bay colt in all of the horse's career victories, including his dominating victory in the Wood Memorial last month.
Desormeaux was not aboard in the colt's only loss.
"Every time I ride him, he becomes more attentive and more like a pony," Desormeaux said. "We've become one."
Asked about Fusaichi Pegasus' Triple Crown potential, Desormeaux said, "With luck and health involved, I think he's a horse capable of that."
Saturday's Derby was Desormeaux's ninth.
"He just took off like a rocket," Desormeaux said. "And at that point, I knew the race was over."
Trainer Neil Drysdale said he watched the replay of the race three times. "Kent was riding him with one hand," Drysdale said. "He was very relaxed."
Before Real Quiet, also a relatively easy winner, the closest the three-time Eclipse Award recipient came to a Derby victory was a third in 1990 with Pleasant Tap. Real Quiet and Desormeaux went on to win the Preakness before suffering a heartbreaking loss in the Belmont in a photo finish after a grueling stretch duel with Victory Gallop.
Desormeaux has never won the Belmont, and the 1998 win was his
only Preakness victory.
But Desormeaux has broken several riding records. At 25, he set
a record as the youngest jockey ever to win 3,000 races. At 27, he
also was the youngest rider ever to top $100 million in earnings.
Just last year, Desormeaux ranked 13th nationally with purse
earnings of $9,073,615, but was injured and did not ride the rest
of the year.
Desormeaux, now 30, led the nation's jockeys in victories for
three years in a row beginning in 1987, a streak matched only by
Pat Day and Bill Hartack .
Early in his career, Desormeaux became one of the top riders in
southern California, considered by some the country's toughest
He was aboard Free House during the last two legs of the colt's
1997 Triple Crown rivalry with Derby winner Silver Charm. Free
House, who was ridden by a different jockey in the Derby, finished
second in the Preakness and third in the Belmont with Desormeaux.
But before thinking about the May 20 Preakness with Fusaichi
Pegasus, Desormeaux said he would savor every minute of his second
"I'm going to fly to the roof of this building and take another
look around," Desormeaux said. "I might be here a couple of
|Kent Desormeaux rode into the winner's circle for the second time in three years at Churchill Downs.|