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Barn Notes: Friday, May 3, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/03/2013 #

In Today’s Notes: Desormeaux At Hand and Hands-On

DESORMEAUX AT HAND AND HANDS-ON

When one has earned nearly every accolade in their respective craft, it is easy to assume they can take a moment to rest on their proverbial laurels.  Such is not the case for Kent Desormeaux, a decorated jockey who joins an already solid rider colony for the 2013 Arlington International Racecourse meet.

With a youthful enthusiasm belying his 43 years, Desormeaux delivered one simple answer for his Arlington arrival – “action!” He went on, “If I have to prepare and get ready to go to the game, I want to play.  I’m ready to ride and it’s been a successful change already, as I have five rides opening day, today.”

In his 27 years of riding, Desormeaux has had plenty of exposure to Arlington and holds a special reverence for the facility.  “This is the nicest plant in the industry.  It’s first class from the turf course to the jockey quarters, which are the best in the industry,” he explained.  “The fans are treated extremely well by Mr. Duchossois and company, and there’s so much attention to detail – no rock left unturned.”

With three wins in the Secretariat Stakes and Beverly D. Stakes each, and a win in the Arlington Million,  Desormeaux definitely knows his way around the greater Chicago oval and looks forward to August’s International Festival of Racing. “By the time we get there, my goal is to be the go-to guy.  Whether it’s Aidan from Europe, Todd from New York or someone local, I want them to know I’m available.  That’s a dream, at least.”

Desormeaux is also known for his prowess on synthetic surfaces and should adapt kindly to Arlington’s Polytrack main course.  “Polytrack is like turf in that it’s different every day.  You have to watch where the winners are coming from and how much moisture has been on it.  By paying attention to the details, I’ve done well,” he said.

“The way I ride is I let them jump away running, and then let them run their race so they can get into a rhythm.  They’re herd animals, and without the kickback from a dirt track you can get them to relax and be themselves.  At that point, I have something left for the quarter pole, because that’s where it matters,” Desormeaux elaborated.

Such an aptitude has not gone unnoticed, as numerous local horsemen have reportedly embraced Desormeaux’s arrival.  “Fortunately a lot of trainers have approached me to ride their horses, and I hope to ride for everybody. I think that if any rider is to have a tremendous amount of success on the racetrack, you have to have the support of the entire backside.”

Desormeaux hopes to return the favor to the trainers and owners with one simple objective – “winning,” he declared frankly.  “Riding horses is one thing, but producing with them is what I want.”

He also looks forward to the added perquisite of reuniting with one of his favorite jockey colleagues, Corey Nakatani, who is reportedly joining the jockey colony next week.  “Nakatani and I are actually very good friends from my tenure in California.  We used to hang out after work, which is rare with jockeys because we’re like brothers seeing one another all the time.  We’re family in there and I see them more than my wife.  It’ll be nice to have him in town.  We call each other ‘little brother.’”

With familiarity on many fronts, Desormeaux hopes to move closer to adding one more proverbial notch in his career belt.  “My goal is to one day hang my saddle on the wall and be the winningest rider out of Louisiana, and I’ve got about a thousand wins to go and I’m planning on collecting them.  Hopefully it’ll be a lot quicker by riding at Arlington, and that’s the truth right there,” he said.  With 5,475 wins already, this looks to be an attainable target.

“Right now I just want to ride competitive horses on a daily basis.  I want to use my abilities as best they can and prove to the world that I’m focused, at it, and back in the game,” Desormeaux articulated.  As a winner of four Breeders’ Cups, three Kentucky Derbies, two Eclipse Awards, Desormeaux once again hopes to be number one.