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Kent Desormeaux

Kent Desormeaux
Induction Year: 
Career Years: 
Number of Mounts: 
28,770 through August 2013
Number of Winners: 
5,519 through August 2013
Winning Percentage: 

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    A native of Maurice, La., Kent Desormeaux grew up riding horses at his father’s farm and competing at local bush tracks. In 1986, at age 16, Desormeaux won his first official thoroughbred race. In 1987, after moving to Maryland, he led the nation in number of wins and earned the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice. 

    Desormeaux went on to win the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 1989 and 1992. The only other riders to receive Eclipse Awards as both an apprentice and journeyman are Hall of Famers Chris McCarron and Steve Cauthen, and Julien Leparoux.

    Desormeaux led the nation in wins from 1987 through 1989. In 1989, he rode 598 winners, a record that still stands. After relocating to Southern California, Desormeaux was the national leader in earnings in 1992. In 1995, at age 25, he became the youngest jockey to win 3,000 races.  Two years later, he became the youngest jockey to reach $100 million in purses.

    His major victories include three wins in the Kentucky Derby, two in the Preakness and one in the Belmont Stakes. He has also won the Travers and four Breeders’ Cup races. His career earnings of $246,094,883 (through August 2013) include several $1 million races in Japan. Desormeaux was the first non-Japanese rider to win a Classic race in that country. He has won racing titles at Oak Tree, Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, Del Mar, Laurel, Pimlico and Tokyo. 

    Other notable wins by Desormeaux include the Santa Ana Handicap (4), Oaklawn Handicap (2), Pacific Classic, Santa Barbara Handicap (6), Super Derby, Santa Anita Derby, Woodward Stakes (2), Arkansas Derby, Wood Memorial, Del Mar Oaks, Arlington Million, Hollywood Futurity, Clark Handicap and Haskell Invitational. 

    Famous horses ridden by Desormeaux include Real Quiet, Fusaichi Pegasus, Big Brown, Summer Bird, Kotashaan, Fiji, Possibly Perfect, The Wicked North, Corinthian, Best Pal, Golden Missile and Free House.

    Desormeaux was presented the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1993 and registered his 5,000th career victory at Saratoga Race Course in 2008 aboard Bella Attrice.

    Kent Desormeaux was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2004.