Finally, Desormeaux rides Derby winner

May 02, 1998|By LARRY YANOS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Notes and quotes from Saturday's 124th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs:

Guiding Real Quiet to the Kentucky Derby winner's circle proved emotional for California-based jockey Kent Desormeaux. The 28-year-old, who made a name for himself in Maryland before heading west early in 1990, combined tears and cheers in a postrace press conference.

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It was Desormeaux's seventh trip to the Kentucky Derby and easily the most successful.

"I remember my first trip here," Desormeaux said. "I rode Purdue King. My grandmother died that day, but my mom stayed here because she knew it (the Kentucky Derby) was the pride of her son's life. As a youngster, I always dreamed of riding in the Kentucky Derby. What a great feeling. And winning makes it even greater. When I crossed the finish line today, I just started crying."

Purdue King finished 16th in 1988. The other Desormeaux mounts were Pleasant Tap, third in 1990; Diazo, fifth in 1993; Soul of the Matter, fifth in 1994; Afternoon Deelites, eighth in 1995; and Diligence, ninth in 1996.


Soul of the Matter and Afternoon Deelites were born and raised on the late trainer Vinnie Moscarelli's Country Roads Farm near Charles Town, W.Va., and both were trained by Richard (Dickie) Mandella.

Desormeaux, who mixed some jokes with some serious postrace chatter, is well-regarded in Maryland.

He rode his first career race at Evangeline Downs on July 13, 1986, and moved his tack to Maryland less than a year later and was dominating.

Desormeaux lost his apprentice rating after winning 297 races in less than eight months and became the fifth Maryland-based jockey to capture the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding apprentice.

In 1989, Desormeaux won 598 races, breaking the record of 546 set by Chris McCarron in 1974. He also gained another Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding jockey.

Bad day for Chilito

Chilito, trained by Maryland-based conditioner Graham Motion, finished a disappointing 11th in the 15-horse Derby field.

Chilito, going postward at 34.80-1 odds, broke well and raced out from the rail. He was a factor to the far turn and then gave way.

"There was more speed in there than I thought," Chilito's jockey Gary Boulanger said. "I couple of them went out faster than I thought they would. He seemed to settle OK, but I knew I was in trouble at the half-mile pole."

Chilito entered the Derby with consecutive victories in the Paradise Creek Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., on March 13 and the Grade III Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah Park in Miami on April 4.

"With those two wins, he deserved to be here," Motion said, following a training session this week at Churchhill Downs.

A near Victory Gallop

Victory Gallop, the second-place finisher behind Real Quiet, won two races at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va., as a 2-year-old.

The 3-year-old son of Cryptoclearance won the New Kent Stakes on Sept. 1 and the Chenary Stakes on Oct. 11.

A long streak

Hagerstown resident Oscar Spigler attended his 45th consecutive Kentucky Derby on Saturday afternoon.

"I've seen so many, but the 1953 Derby probably stands out the most," Spigler said. "Dark Star upset Native Dancer in that one. They were two great horses."

Spigler selected California-based Artax to win Saturday's Run for the Roses.

His travelling companions, and their selections, were: son Bill Spigler, Old Trieste; daughter Vicky Hastings, Cape Town; Don Wishard, Real Quiet; Jimmy Wishard, Hanuman Highway; and Tom McKenzie, Halory Hunter.

Motion wanted 7 or 8

Motion had the third selection in Wednesday's pre-race draw and chose the No. 5 post position for Chilito after conversing with owner Joe Allbritton.

"I really wanted the 7 or 8 hole, but they were already taken," Motion said Friday morning after Chilito had returned to the barn area following a schooling session in the Churchill Downs paddock and a mile and five-eighth gallop under exercise rider William Goodwin.

Allbritton, who owns Lazy Lane Farms, Inc. and Motion then decided on the No. 5 post position.

"I don't think Mr. Allbritton wanted the 6 hole," Motion said.

Maybe it had something to do with Hansel's dull effort in the 1991 Kentucky Derby.

Hansel, owned by Allbritton, broke from the No. 6 post position as the Kentucky Derby favorite that May 4 afternoon but finished a disappointing 10th in a race won by Strike the Gold.

Hansel, with jockey Jerry Bailey aboard, was well-placed while five wide into the backstretch. But he ducked in and tired badly turning for home and was no factor in the race.

Favorite falters again

And the streak continues.

When Indian Charlie finished third Saturday, it marked the 19th consecutive year that a favorite failed to win the Kentucky Derby.

The last favorite to capture the Run for the Roses was Spectacular Bid in 1979.

Maryland horses

Two Maryland-bred horses competed on the impressive Kentucky Derby Day card.

Partner's Hero finished fourth at 7.10-1 odds in the 7-furlong Grade II $150,000 Churchill Downs Stakes, while Ops Smile placed sixth at odds of 23.80-1 in the $250,000 Early Times Turf Classic.

Partner's Hero is trained by Wayne Lukas, and Ops Smile is trained by Bill Boniface.

Jockey Pat Day rode Partner's Hero, and Robert Colton rode Ops Smile.

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