Maurice native Kent Desormeaux and undefeated 3-year-old colt Big Brown are the favorites, with 2-5 odds, to win tomorrow’s Belmont Stakes and become the first horse racing team to capture the coveted Triple Crown in 30 years. They stand to join an elite club of 11 other Triple Crown winners, the last of which was Affirmed and jockey Steve Cauthen in 1978. Desormeaux and Big Brown will start from the inside rail in tomorrow’s race, having yesterday drawn the No. 1 post. The inside post has produced the most Belmont winners (23) since 1905. Big Brown will face off against nine rivals; chief among them is Japanese-owned Casino Drive, with 7-2 odds on the morning line. Desormeaux is 0-5 riding in the Belmont.
For Desormeaux, the race is a shot at redemption after ten years ago losing the Triple Crown by a nose aboard Real Quiet. Desormeaux has since uprooted his family from California to New York and experienced a late career revival. The Hall of Fame jockey also says he is riding tomorrow for his nine-year-old son, Jacob, who suffers with the rare genetic disorder Usher Syndrome – a disease that could leave him blind by early adulthood. For more on Desormeaux, and his rise from Louisiana bush tracks to the pinnacle of horse racing, read the cover story, “Winner’s Circle,” in this week’s Independent.