Jockey Kent Desormeaux eclipsed a 15-year-old record for most winners in a year when he won his 547th race of 1989 in the fifth race today at Laurel Race Course. (See Jim Murray, C1.)
Desormeaux, 19, surpassed the mark set by Chris McCarron in 1974 with a three-quarter-length victory aboard a 2-year-old filly named Gilten, an even money favorite in a field of 14.
The record-setting ride came on Desormeaux’s 2,129th mount of the year. McCarron needed 2,199 mounts to set the record.
The record fell after Desormeaux moved Gilten to the lead on the far turn and held off long-shot Brown Bear through the stretch for the victory.
Desormeaux, a native of Maurice, La., had tied the mark in the fourth race with his second mount of the day after 13 consecutive rides without a winner over parts of three racing days.
After leading the nation in total victories in 1988 and 1989, Desormeaux had pulled to within one victory of the record Sunday when he won the fourth race at Laurel aboard Horse Talk. He then went 0-for-5 Tuesday and missed with his first ride today. Laurel was dark Monday and Wednesday.
To equal the record, Desormeaux moved Lucked In up between horses on the far turn, continued the rally on the outside and drew clear in the final furlong to post a 1 1/4-length victory.
Desormeaux shook his fist in victory as he crossed the wire of his record-tying ride.
Desormeaux won 450 races two years ago and was the recipient of the Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding apprentice. He won 474 races last year.