The Kentucky Derby has always been a place where history is made and records are broken. The jockey-trainer sibling team behind Exaggerator is looking to do just that this Saturday when Kentucky Derby 142 kicks off at Churchill Downs in Lousiville, Kentucky. Brothers Keith and Kent Desormeaux, the trainer and jockey who've already run the 3-year-old Thoroughbred to an impressive $1.6 million in earnings, stand to become the first jockey-trainer sibling team to ever win the Kentucky Derby if Exaggerator can thunder past the competition.
Undefeated champion Nyquist may be the morning favorite out of the full 20-horse field set to race Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs, but it's the brothers behind the day's second favorite that have captured spectators' hearts. Keith, the older of the two brothers, has been training Exaggerator for Big Chief Racing since he first found the Thoroughbred at a Keeneland auction in 2015 while his brother Kent, a Hall of Fame jockey, rides.
"The great thing is I really can't relate to what he does," Keith told the Los Angeles Times. "And he can't relate to what I do. Kent's all go and strategy within the course of a race. And my job is monotonous over time, preparing and creating this running machine that we have. His job is done and over in two minutes. Mine takes two years. We don't have to argue about what to do because our roles are so different."
Given the amount of success Exaggerator has seen in his two-year career, the brothers seems a perfect match. With 8 to 1 morning odds, Exaggerator is the horse with the best chance of defeating Nyquist. The Thoroughbred recently pulled off a thrilling come-from-behind win in the Santa Anita Derby, pulling to the front of the pack from more than 20 back.
Although a seasoned Kentucky Derby rider, Kent told the New York Post this year's race — his 20th — left him nervous for an entirely new reason. "I'm more nervous about riding for my brother," Kent told the Post. "I don’t want to fail him. I’m just so anxious, because I want to find out our destiny." This is Keith's first time bringing a horse to the Kentucky Derby.
Other noteable sibling teams to race in the Kentucky Derby include Nick and Jimmy Combest in 1964 and Gerald and Randy Romero in 1993. However, no sibling team has ever managed to finish first and walk away with the Garland of Roses reserved for champions.