Fans Seeing a New Attitude from Desormeaux

(from Santa Anita notes)
Kent Desormeaux has a new beginning and a new agent.

So far, it's a successful combination.

Inducted into racing's Hall of Fame last August, the 34-year-old Louisiana native is nearing the top five in the Santa Anita standings despite limited opportunities. Among riders with at least 10 victories, he is second to Patrick Valenzuela in both win and in-the-money percentage.

"His dedication is unbelievable," said his new agent, Harry (The Hat) Hacek. "When several riders took off the other day when it rained and track was muddy, he picked up a maiden in the last race for $25,000. This is a Hall of Famer doing this. He is so determined and so focused, he can't be denied. He's got the right attitude.

"It would be safe to say Kent has fallen from grace in the past few years, hitting rock-bottom at the Hollywood Park fall meet where he finished 12th in the standings with just 10 wins," Hacek said. "Everyone knows of Kent's impressive statistics and accomplishments. Yet it is inconceivable that he would win only 109 races in 2004, less than half of those by Tyler Baze, Victor Espinoza and Corey Nakatani, to name but three.

"Remember, in his early 30s Kent once led the greatest riding colony ever assembled, consisting of the likes of Pincay, McCarron, Delahoussaye, Stevens, Solis, etc. Understandably, Kent was disturbed by his decline in popularity and production. He is aware of his shortcomings and readily accepts full blame.

"His approach has been as though he just arrived in California only much wiser and more mature. He's seeking a second chance. Working closely with him the past few months, people are amazed by his makeover. This is an ongoing process."

Said Desormeaux, who has a 25-25-18 record from 132 mounts: "Harry gave me a wakeup call. He berated me with expletive words, pertaining to what I was doing with my career. He certainly wasn't massaging my ego and pointed out some shortcomings. I appreciated his candor. It was just what I needed. I had lost focus. You're seeing a new and improved version of Kent Desormeaux."

Hacek, who recruited Eddie Delahoussaye and Chris McCarron to come to California and who has represented the likes of Darrel McHargue, Sandy Hawley, Don MacBeth and Alex Solis, among others, added, "since joining forces, Kent has done everything I've asked of him. His dedication and determination have never been stronger."