Best of 2020: Kendrick Carmouche
by Ryan Martin
Just one live race day – the New Year’s Eve card at Aqueduct Racetrack – remains in 2020 to complete a remarkable year of racing action on the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit. The NYRA Press Office checked in with a selection of New York-based racing personalities to get their reflections on the memorable campaign.
Kendrick Carmouche, a native of Vinton, Louisiana, began riding in his home state at the age of 16 before switching over to the Mid-Atlantic circuit. He found immediate success there, winning seven riding titles at Parx Racing and earning a spot in the Philadelphia racetrack’s Hall of Fame. Since moving his tack to New York in the winter of 2015, Carmouche has piloted more than 30 stakes-winners and won his first Grade 1 aboard True Timber in this year’s Cigar Mile. Additionally, he secured his first riding title in the Empire State when leading all other jockeys during the fall meet at the Big A.
What was your favorite moment this year?
Carmouche: Winning on True Timber was not only the biggest moment of the year, but the biggest moment of my career. Winning a title in New York, also, caps off a year of hard work and the pandemic, all in one.
Was there a particular ride that made you most proud?
Carmouche: Battle Station winning the Lucky Coin. That was a good way to end the meet at Saratoga. He’s a horse who I really like. He put me in a perfect spot that day. He's a horse that I previously rode, and we just picked up where we left off. I rode him as a 2-year-old and I won the first couple of times on him. I didn’t get back on him until he was 5, so it’s really been a lot of fun.
Who was your favorite horse to ride this year at NYRA?
Carmouche: Tribecca. I've got to give him props. The past few years, he’s one of those horses that every time you get on him, you know you have a shot to win. He’s just an amazing and cool horse. He rides me, and I ride him. That’s the way it works. We’re both on the same page, we know each other well and know what the other one wants.
The new track at Saratoga got a lot of buzz over the summer from jockeys and horsemen alike, how did you feel about the new surface?
Carmouche: I think the track was wonderful and the crew did a good job. When they come into the jock’s rom and ask us about it, we try and give them our honest opinion of what we feel on a racehorse and they try to make sure that the horses and jockeys are both safe.
Talk about the relationship with have with your agent Kevin Bubser and how he’s helped you along in your career.
Carmouche: I first met him at Delaware Park. He was a casino dealer and we became best friends. He said he didn’t want to be a dealer anymore, so I brought him over to the racehorse world, which he was already introduced to when he was a young kid, and he just fell right into place. Me and my former agent taught him a couple things and left him in Philadelphia. I’m very pleased with the job he’s done with my book. He’s a very good guy and a very nice guy. I’m happy that we both got our first Grade 1 and first riding title together. You can’t ask for anything more.
What is it that keeps you going?
Carmouche: The competition. I love the competition. You know that every time you come here that you have to ride your absolute best to beat these guys and they have to do the same and ride their best to beat me. When I came up here years ago, I was searching for the opportunity to build my riding career and get better and better. That’s the whole point of stepping up to the next level.
Everyone was suffering during the pandemic. My whole thing was, I wanted to get back to work and do what I always do, win races, try to find a way to win. I love getting better at winning races. I just want to say in the fight. They got me in the fight right now, and I want to stay in the fight.
The 2020-21 winter meet at Aqueduct returns to action on Thursday, December 31 and continues through Sunday, March 28.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the winter meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
For additional information, and the complete winter meet stakes schedule, please visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/stakes-schedule.