R. Reese Fuller

Acadiana jockeys for another Derby win

by R. Reese Fuller

Three of the 20 jockeys riding tomorrow in the 134th Kentucky Derby hail from Acadiana - Robby Albarado, Calvin Borel and Kent Desormeaux.

Desormeaux, a Maurice native, will ride the favored Big Brown, unbeaten in three career starts, for the first jewel of the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs. The only other horse to win the Derby with just three lifetime starts was Regret in 1915, the first filly to win the race. And Big Brown will start at the No. 20 post postion. The only horse to win the Derby from that position was Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.

But Desormeaux's no stranger to the Derby; in 1998 he won riding Real Quiet (as well as the Preakness that year, the second leg of the Triple Crown) and again in 2000 on Fusaichi Pegasus. In 1989, Desormeaux broke the record for the most wins in a year with 599, surpassing the previous record of 546 set in 1974.

Last year, the Kentucky Derby went to Catahoula native Calvin Borel riding Street Sense. (Read about Borels' win in "Ride of His Life.") But Lafayette native Robby Albarado and Curlin dashed Borel's run for the Triple Crown by taking the Preakness Stakes. Albarado also won his first Breeder's Cup last year with Curlin.

In tomorrow's Derby, Albarado will ride Z Fortune, Borel will ride Denis of Cork, and Desormeaux will ride Big Brown. Live coverage of the Kentucky Derby begins tomorrow at 3 p.m. on NBC.