Kendrick Carmouche has a chance to become the first Black jockey in 119 years to win the Kentucky Derby. But mostly he would like to win for his “Pops.”
Sylvester Carmouche had lost his license to ride at the sanctioned racetracks after pulling an audacious, ill-advised stunt during a fog-shrouded race. But Kendrick — who on Saturday will try to become the first Black jockey in 119 years to win the Kentucky Derby — never thought of his father as “The Fog Jockey,” as many others did. He thought of him as a Ph.D. in horse racing and as the “Pops” who took him everywhere and taught him everything.
He still does. And he says that before he gets a leg up on a colt named Bourbonic for the Derby, he will hug his father and thank him for making him the jockey and the man that he is today.
“Look, I’m 37 years old and I’ve covered a lot of pavement, put in a lot of hard work and stayed positive through hard times,” Kendrick Carmouche said. “I learned all that from my Pops.”
Carmouche said his race had never held him back in the sport and pointed to his more than 3,400 career victories and more than $118 million in purse earnings as proof.
“I work hard. I’m nice to everyone,” he said. “If you treat me the same, I don’t care if you are pink or green. I learned that from Pops, too.”
Now Carmouche has his first Kentucky Derby mount, which, perhaps fittingly, is a long shot to claim the garland of roses.
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