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They haven't forgotten Desormeaux's first try

June 06, 2008|Larry Stewart

NEW YORK -- Kent Desormeaux, who is rarely at a loss for words, is almost as good with one-liners as he is with reins in hand.

At the Belmont Stakes draw Wednesday, he said he would be talking a lot if his mount, Big Brown, wins Saturday's 1 1/2 -mile race.

"And if the horse gets beat," Desormeaux said, "then I'll be real quiet."

The comment, which prompted a combination of laughs and groans, was a reference to the horse Real Quiet.

It was 10 years ago that Desormeaux rode him to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to get nipped at the wire by Victory Gallop in the Belmont.

"It's too close to call," race announcer Tom Durkin said as the late-charging Victory Gallop and Real Quiet hit the wire.

"I learned a valuable lesson in that race," Desormeaux now says. "When we turned for home, I did what I always did with Real Quiet. I asked him for that burst of speed, and it was unnecessary."

Bob Baffert, Real Quiet's trainer, says Desormeaux "is getting a mulligan for that one."

Jockey Gary Stevens, who rode Victory Gallop, says, "I believe if he had been a little more patient he would have been a Triple Crown winner that day."

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