Kent Desormeaux
Jockey Bios

Kent Desormeaux

Born: February 27, 1970 in Maurice, La.

Record at Keeneland

Total Wins: 143

Stakes Wins: 24

Career Firsts

First Grade 1 Win: 1990 San Juan Capistrano Invitational at Santa Anita on Delegant

First Stakes Win: 1986 Maryland City at Laurel on Godbey

First Graded Stakes Win: 1987 Gardenia (G2) at the Meadowlands on Thirty Eight Go Go

First Career Win: July 13, 1986, at Evangeline Downs on Miss Tavern

Starters in the Toyota Blue Grass


Year

Horse

Finish

2012

Dullahan

Won

2010

Paddy O’Prado

2nd

2009

Hold Me Back

2nd

2008

Cool Coal Man

9th

2003

Crowned Dancer

4th

At Keeneland


During the 2016 Fall Meet, rode Photo Call (IRE) to win the First Lady (G1).

Rode Dullahan to win the 2011 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and the 2012 Toyota Blue Grass (G1).

Won two Grade 1 races during the 2010 Spring Meet: Central Bank Ashland on Evening Jewel and Vinery Madison on Dr. Zic.

Three-time winner of the Juddmonte Spinster (G1): 2009 on Mushka, 2008 on Carriage Trail and 1999 on Keeper Hill (when race was sponsored by Three Chimneys).

Nine Grade 1 wins also include the 2004 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Ticker Tape (GB) and 2009 Maker’s Mark Mile on Mr. Sidney.

Leading rider during the 2008 Spring Meet with 22 wins.

First Keeneland win came during the 1994 Spring Meet.

First Keeneland stakes win was the 1996 Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup (G2) on Afternoon Deelites.

Career


Elected to the Racing Hall of Fame in 2004.

Three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey: 1987 (as an apprentice), 1989 and 1992.

Triple Crown wins (7): Three wins in the Kentucky Derby (G1) – Real Quiet (1998), Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) and Big Brown (2008). Three wins in the Preakness (G1) – Real Quiet, Big Brown and Exaggerator (2016). (Exaggerator was trained by his brother Keith. One win in the Belmont (G1) – Summer Bird (2009). He and Real Quiet lost the 1998 Triple Crown by a nose when they finished second in the Belmont.

Breeders’ Cup wins (6): 1993 Turf on Kotashaan (FR); 1995 Sprint on Desert Stormer; 2007 Dirt Mile on Corinthian; 2010 Distaff on Unrivaled Belle; 2014 Juvenile on Texas Red; 2017 Sprint on Roy H.

North American career earnings exceed $278 million with 5,935 wins through January 30, 2018. Is the fourth-leading active rider by earnings.

2017 earnings were $7,348,961 with 109 wins, including the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) and TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) with Roy H. 

2016 earnings were $9,209,321with 109 wins, including the Santa Anita Derby (G1), Preakness (G1) and Haskell Invitational (G1) on Exaggerator and Keeneland’s First Lady (G1) on Photo Call (IRE). 

2015 earnings were $7,214,356 with 84 wins, including the Matriarch (G1) on Stormy Lucy.

2014 earnings were $7,404,694 with 90 wins.

North America’s leading rider by wins three times, 1987-1989. In the latter year, he shattered the previous record for a single year (546) with 597 wins, a record that still stands.

Won 5,000th race on July 27, 2008, at Saratoga aboard Bella Attrice.

First foreign-based jockey to win a Japanese classic race, the 2001 Japanese Oaks, aboard Lady Pastel.

Youngest rider to amass 3,000 victories at the age of 25 in 1995 and youngest to surpass $100 million in career earnings two years later at age 27.

Won George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1993.

Leading rider in North America by earnings in 1992 with nearly $14.2 million.

Has won riding titles at Laurel, Pimlico, Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Del Mar, Oak Tree, and Tokyo, Japan.

Background


Kent started showing horses in 4-H competitions and racing against his brother Keith, now a trainer based in Southern California, through the woods and on gravel roads near the family’s home. In his early teens, he began getting mounts at the bush tracks, one of which, Acadiana Downs, was operated by his father, Harris Desormeaux, in the 1970s.

On May 21, 2016, Kent rode Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Exaggerator, trained by Keith, to win the Preakness (G1), handing champion and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist the first loss of his career. The victory at Pimlico was especially meaningful for the brothers because the track is where Kent launched his career nearly 30 years ago and Keith apprenticed under the late prominent trainer Charles Hadry.

Kent's wife, Rosie Higgins, is an apprentice jockey. On Feb. 11, 2016, at Santa Anita, Higgins recorded her first victory when she rode Blue Law to win the second race. Higgins is an exercise rider for Blue Law's trainer, Bob Hess Jr.