I thought this was a good subject to write about because, obviously, being the last day of the year, it's a great time to look back at your accomplishments (or in horse racing, victories) as well as defeats, and evaluate what you've learned, what you've succeeded at and, of course, what you can do better. The fact that I won my third Kentucky Derby was a big accomplishment for me. Yes, I'm disappointed that I did not win the Triple Crown, but certain things are just out of my control. Big Brown will always be one of my favorite race horses and he will clearly help me remember 2008 as one of my greatest years being a jockey. With close to $16 million in earnings this year, at least for my owners, I feel that I had as good a year as I could possibly expect. Sure, there were some races where I might have been able to do something, or wish I could re-do, but for the most part, thinking back on the thousand mounts I had, I am more than satisfied that I made the right decision 90% of the time.
Being a professional athlete, specifically a jockey, requires a very positive state of mind. I swear that how you mentally feel can be sensed by the horse you're riding. The more confident you are, the more confident the horse is going to be. I want to thank all my owners and trainers who trusted me with their precious animals. I want to thank all of the racing fans who bet on the horses I rode, trusting my skill as a jockey and knowing that I'm out to win every race in order to support those who support me.
Yes, I would have loved to have finished first in the jockey standings, but finishing fifth based on earnings is far from a disappointment. When I think about all the good jockeys out there, I really thank God and everyone I'm associated with in this industry for the great opportunities brought my way.
Yep, I had a great year in 2008, but I will ponder some moments, which will allow me to hopefully continue my success in 2009 and keep me on top of the jockey standings. Racing is a tough game. If it wasn't for the support of my wife and sons and the rest of my family and friends, I would never have gone as far this year, or any year.
From time to time, I log on to our racing community and read the forums and the articles and say to myself, "What a great thing for racing." I am absolutely thrilled to be involved with such a venue. Watching the success of this community as it continues to grow is very important to me. I have a feeling that with everything the team is doing, 2009 is going to be a good year for all of us. I mean everyone associated with this fantastic program, both game and community. Tomorrow is 2009 and my mind will already be focused on all the young promising 3-year-olds that will be pointing toward the major 3-year-old stake races on their journey to either the Kentucky Derby or the Kentucky Oaks. I hope everyone in the community follows along with me and the rest of our supporters, my dear buddy Aaron Gryder, young Smokin' Joe Talamo and, of course, Chantal Sutherland, to make this the best vehicle for educating new and young sports fans about the exciting world of racing and how much fun this game really is.
Everyone have a safe and Happy New Year! I'll talk to you soon...
- Kent Desormeaux