ARCADIA, California — Texas Red put the Desormeaux brothers on the road to the Kentucky Derby.
Texas Red pulled a 13-1 upset in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Saturday at Santa Anita.
Kent Desormeaux was aboard for his fifth Breeders' Cup victory. Keith, the trainer and a co-owner, got his first win in the world championships.
The Juvenile is the first major test for 2-year-olds leading to next year's Kentucky Derby. Texas Red jumped into the picture with his first stakes victory, and second win in five starts.
"That's why we're in the game," Keith Desormeaux said of the Derby.
Texas Red beat 9-5 favorite Carpe Diem by 6 1/2 lengths. The time was 1:41.91 for 1 1/16 miles.
Upstart was a neck back in third.
Texas Red paid $29.80, $9.80 and $5.60. Carpe Diem returned $3.80 and $2.80, and Upstart paid $3.60 to show.
Texas Red dropped back to last in the 11-horse field before picking off rivals on the final turn.
"He was so far back, there was nobody in my way," Kent Desormeaux said. "It was a pretty uneventful trip. When I swung him out, he really didn't need much riding. He just bellied down and extended his stride."
It could be another rags-to-riches Triple Crown saga following California Chrome this year. Texas Red sold for a modest $17,000 at last year's yearling sale at Keeneland.
"He had all the things we look for as horsemen in trying to acquire a good animal," Keith Desormeaux said. "It was so very surprising that we got him at that price."
The Juvenile also weighs heavily in the Eclipse Award balloting for divisional champion, and the win might sway some voters.
The Juvenile became a wide-open affair when American Pharoah, the 2-1 favorite, was withdrawn earlier in the week with a bruised foot.
With American Pharoah sidelined, trainer Todd Pletcher seemed to hold the strongest hand with the duo of Carpe Diem and Daredevil. Both were 2 for 2 and had won major stakes in their prior starts.
But it was Texas Red who stole the day with a bold run down the center of the track.
It was a return to the limelight for Kent Desormeaux, the 44-year-old Hall of Fame rider who almost missed the Breeders' Cup after sustaining fractured ribs and a partially collapsed lung when kicked by a horse in late September.
His 47-year-old brother earned his 500th career win with Texas Red and his little brother aboard at Del Mar in August.
They both grew up poor in Louisiana's Cajun country and always had horses in their lives.
"I don't know how my family ever fed them, but my education on horses all came together today with this win," Kent Desormeaux said.
Texas Red earned $1.1 million for the victory.
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