Look up the word optimistic in the dictionary and alongside the written definition will be a picture of jockey Kendrick Carmouche.
As an example; the other day, Carmouche was asked what was his best finish in the Pennsylvania Derby? The 37-year-old rider smiled – he’s always smiling – and replied, “Saturday. It will be on Saturday.”
On record, Carmouche’s best finish in the signature race at Parx Racing came in 2017 when he checked in 4th aboard GAME OVER. That was his sixth career mount in the PA. Derby.
Saturday, he’ll be aboard BOURBONIC in the Grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, a horse he rode to a stunning Victory in the Wood Memorial back in April at odds of 72-1 !
“I will need some pace,” Carmouche said in regard to Parx feature race on Saturday. BOURBONIC is 12-1 on the PA. Derby Morning Line. “Hopefully, he will have the same kick that he had in the Wood and we can run them down.”
Carmouche, who hails from Louisiana, had a bummer of a summer. .
Two races after riding BOURBONIC to a 5th-place finish in the Belmont Stakes on June 5th, Carmouche broke his right ankle when his mount KENTUCKY PHAROAH leapt in the air out of the gate and unseated the rider. The horse landed on his ankle, breaking it. Sayonara Saratoga.
Now he’s back in the saddle, and loving every second of it. He began his comeback September 5th at Parx– a track where he has had much success. He owns seven riding titles at Parx, including four straight from 2008-11.
In his second start back from the injury, he Won. In 56 starts since his injury, Carmouche has seven Wins, four 2nds and six 3rds.
Saturday, he’ll have nine rides on the 13-race Parx card.
His enthusiasm and upbeat nature make Carmouche easy to cheer for. “I am always looking forward,” he said. “Life goes on, man. It’s part of the game. Nobody wants to get hurt, but it happens. I just kept on pushing, kept on fighting. I am always in a good mood, you can never get me down. It’s just the way I’ve always been.”
Best of luck on Saturday Kendrick. If you Win the PA. Derby a bourbon old-fashioned will be raised in your honor- perhaps more than one.