Kendrick Carmouche has established himself as one of the better riders in the game since relocating from Parx to the NYRA circuit in 2015. He’s won multiple graded stakes since moving there full-time and posted career highs in earnings in back-to-back years. He had won four straight riding titles at Parx from 2008 to 2011 and added another one in 2013 before he and his agent, ‘Kid’ Breeden, decided to tackle the big time.
“I’d done so much in Philadelphia, but I wasn’t mature yet as a man,” Carmouche told the Post-Star. “I just had to make sure whenever I do leave Philadelphia, I can compete with these [elite] guys.”
He continued, “When you’re with elite jocks…they ride smart races, so you’ve got to put yourself in the same position as them.”
Carmouche spent the winter of 2013 at Gulfstream Park but struggled to get business there.
“I found that, in Florida, you can’t move jocks off good horses,” Carmouche told TheRacingBiz.com.
Unfazed, Carmouche adopted a change in tactics in 2015 that helped him tremendously.
“I thought if I would ride in New York, I would get better opportunities and it would open more doors for me,” he told TheRacingBiz.com. “I figure if I stayed [in the mid-Atlantic region], trainers like [Todd] Pletcher and [Chad] Brown might keep me on some of their horses.”
That strategy paid off handsomely, as Carmouche teamed up with Brown and captured a pair of Grade IIIs aboard Goldy Espony in 2015. Carmouche has also piloted Pure Sensation to two turf sprint stakes wins for Cristophe Clement over the last two years, and was able to rally for third in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Carmouche even won aboard Kiaran McLaughlin’s Dancing House in the 2016 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel.
Due to his tremendous success in turf races, Carmouche unsurprisingly loves riding on the lawn.
“I love the grass,” he told the DRF in 2013. “It’s like playing chess. I ride for a lot of people that have a lot of good grass horses.”
Assuming Carmouche stays in New York this winter, he’ll be competing exclusively on dirt at Aqueduct against the Ortiz brothers. He held his own there last year, winning more races than anyone not named Ortiz. He was also on a live Derby contender named Adventist, who ran in the Withers, Gotham and Wood Memorial. He’ll be looking for another Triple Crown contender to try for his first career win in the series in 2017.
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