If you think because of the dominating performance in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) that jockey Kent Desormeaux is taking anything for granted, think again.
Desormeaux guided Big Brown to a dominating victory in the Derby and is the overwhelming favorite for the May 17 Preakness (gr. I). Many are already discussing his chances for the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), which would make the son of Boundary the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Desormeaux is optimistic, but said not so fast during a press briefing at Pimlico May 16.
"On Real Quietin the Belmont, I knew I was the winner," Desormeaux said of the 1998 race in which Victory Gallop spoiled the Triple Crown by a nose. "Real Quiet pulled himself up; he never saw Victory Gallop. When he saw him, it was like he broke from the gate again. Victory Gallop was not in front of him except that last stride."
To further illustrate the point of not taking things for granted in racing, Desormeaux also pointed to the 2000 Preakness, when he rode heavy favorite (3-10) Fusaichi Pegasus , who had won the Derby two weeks earlier.
"We went from the third fastest Derby to the third fastest Preakness and got beat (by Red Bullet)," Desormeaux said. "A horse that busts from the gate running one race might come out quieter the next race."
Of course, Desormeaux is extremely confident that Big Brown, who is owned by IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr., and trained by Rick Dutrow, will remain unbeaten in the Preakness.
"I know the gun is loaded and I just need to pull the trigger," the rider said.
That is scary thought for the other riders in the race.
But, as Desormeaux said, anything can happen.