Best show of loyalty
LOUISVILLE — This July, jockey Kent Desormeaux suffered an inglorious moment when he failed a Breathalyzer test and was taken off his mounts at Woodbine the day he was supposed to ride Hold Me Back for trainer Bill Mott in the Dominion Day Stakes — a race the colt would go on to win.
That incident caused the talented but checkered rider to fall out of favor with many trainers. Mott, however, chose to stick by the Hall of Famer — leaving him on top mounts like graded stakes-winning filly Unrivaled Belle.
For all the criticism Desormeaux has faced for some of his rides in big races over the years, he guided Unrivaled Belle flawlessly Friday night when she won the Ladies' Classic.
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"It was truly an embarrassing moment, something I never thought would be attached to my name," Desormeaux said of the Woodbine incident. "But I am sitting next to a very loyal, loving man (in Mott) and he showed it to me there."
First-time winners were a popular pattern on Friday as jockeys Jamie Theriot and Jeffrey Sanchez, trainers Stanley Gold, Bret Calhoun and Diane Alvarado, and owner Bobby Flay all scored Breeders' Cup triumphs.
Alvarado, who saddled Eldaafer in the Breeders' Cup Marathon, joined Carla Gaines, Laura De Seroux and Jenine Sahadi as female trainers to win Breeders' Cup races.
For Louisiana native-turned-Louisville resident Theriot, guiding Dubai Majesty home in the Filly and Mare Sprint was especially poignant.
"This is a lifetime goal for me as a jockey," Theriot said. "To come out here every morning, work very hard ... this is what I'm out here every day, seven days a week for. It's a great feeling."
Best show of depth
Want to know how close the Filly and Mare Turf field was in ability?
With the exception of Keertena, who was a length in front of fourth-place Red Desire, the top seven were separated by a neck each with Eclair de Lune and Forever Together finishing in a dead-heat for sixth.