Breeders' Cup: Desormeaux brothers take Juvenile with Texas Red

Jockey Kent Desormeaux celebrated after riding Texas Red to victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux celebrated after riding Texas Red to victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park. AP

ARCADIA, Calif. — Brothers Keith and Kent Desormeaux don't have many commonalities in demeanor and career arcs.

The latter, the Hall of Fame jockey, has never shied from self promotion to better his career. The former, the well-respected trainer, has been too low-key for his own good most of the time.

The Louisiana natives shared identical grins and sentiments in the aftermath of Saturday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park, though.

The Desormeaux siblings became the first brother combination to team up for a Breeders' Cup triumph as Kent Desormeaux got Keith Desormeaux-trainee Texas Red to deliver a last-to-first rush whose momentum only stopped at the wire in the 11⁄16-mile test. Texas Red won the $2 million Juvenile by 61/2 lengths over 9-5 favorite Carpe Diem.

The brothers had put their respective skills together to boast the winterbook favorite for the Kentucky Derby.

Kent Desormeaux now has five Breeders' Cup victories to go along with his three winning rides in the Kentucky Derby. For Keith, upstart Texas Red — whom he also co-owns — represents his first such triumph in the two-day World Championships.

"We've had five chances, and this is the first (win). But this is always going to be the sweetest, I'm sure," Keith Desormeaux said. "Kent and I were always confident with the way the horse was training. The whole Breeders' Cup court seems to be won by horses on the lead. You're just hoping that you get enough of a pace to run at, and that happened. It's hard to describe."

Nothing about the result in the Juvenile was something many would have forecast.

Kent Desormeaux only recently returned to the saddle after suffering five broken ribs and a bruised lung after being kicked in the chest by a horse in a pre-race accident just over a month ago.

Though Texas Red had run third in the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 27 after breaking his maiden in his third try, the son of Afleet Alex remained overlooked even after FrontRunner winner American Pharoah scratched out of the Juvenile due to injury earlier in the week.

They will know his name now. Sent off at 13-1 odds, Texas Red advanced about five wide between runners and struck the front at the head of the stretch, putting on a tremendous display of acceleration as he hit the line in 1:41.91.

"He was so far back, there was nobody in his way until the quarter pole," Kent Desormeaux said. "When I swung him out, didn't really need much riding. He just bellied down and extended his stride. I think this goes without saying that this is just the culmination of a lifetime of horses in our backyard."

When he helped purchase Texas Red for $17,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Keith Desormeaux was stunned by the final number considering he thought the horse was "a physical masterpiece."

Texas Red is now getting his due. So too is the trainer with whom Kent Desormeaux has more than a little familiarity.

"I'm the kind of guy who's going to bang every door and look under every rock for a new horse to ride. But Keith has been the kind of person that just likes to show it on the racetrack," Kent said. "It's Keith's turn in the future."

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