LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — History could be made at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. A win for the “11” horse, Exaggerator, would be a first for a trainer and jockey who are brothers.
“Listen, we’re two sides of a coin. Okay? We’re heads and tails,” said Kent Desormeaux of he and his brother Keith. “Couldn’t be more different.”
Kent and Keith grew up with horses, riding around the tiny Cajun village of Maurice, Louisiana.
“I guess he takes after his mother. I take after my father,” Keith said. Kent says his brother has always been the one that keeps him in line.
Kent is a superstar, a hall-of-fame jockey who has won the Derby three times. But he’s always been a partier and a drinker.
Within the last five years, he showed up inebriated the morning of several races — he was fined and ordered to go to counseling. Few horsemen would hire him.
“It was this [Keith] who actually picked up the phone, and said, ‘Boy, you need to tighten up.’ So when I got to the fork in the road, big brother was like, ‘you need to go right, because you’re going wrong,'” Kent said.
Kent has gotten back in riding shape, and although still battling his demons, brother Keith went to bat for him — convincing owners to give him another shot.
This Saturday, Kent will ride the Derby’s second favorite, Exaggerator, trained by big brother Keith.
“It’s totally surreal. I can’t even believe it. I have to pinch myself. I cannot believe it’s my brother,” Kent said.
For Kent, this “Run for the Roses” will be a ride for redemption, and a chance to repay the big brother who bet on him when few others would.
(© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.)