The Grandest Payoff Of All

Debbye Turner is a special correspondent for The Early Show. She's reporting tonight on a very special story behind Triple Crown hopeful Big Brown.
(AP Photo/Rob Carr)
All agree, Big Brown is an extraordinary horse.

His jockey describes him this way: "He's like a big baby. He's like the pony of the barn and yet he's an explosive powerful beast in the afternoon." Kent Desormeaux is the jockey that rode Big Brown to victory at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. He feels confident he can ride Big Brown into the history books as the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years.

But I was taken by the dynamic charisma that Kent possesses. When I asked my first question, "what is it like when you are on a thoroughbred in a race?" His whole demeanor transformed. He closed his eyes and said, "It's the wind howling through your ears, and the fence posts going shoop, shoop, shoop and the thundering hooves." While he spoke, he used his hands to demonstrate fence posts zooming by. It was as if he transported us to that moment. There is no doubt Desormeaux is at the top of his game because of his love of horses and racing.

His other passion is his family. Married to his high school sweetheart, he has two lovely sons. It was a joy to speak to them. Fifteen-year-old Joshua is polite, articulate, and a little shy. Kent's younger son, Jacob is a typical, high-energy 9-year-old. Because Jacob is deaf (due to a genetic disorder called Usher Syndrome), Joshua is very protective of him.

Even as I interviewed the boys, Joshua made sure Jacob understood my questions and gave the appropriate responses. The Usher Syndrome will more than likely render Jacob blind by the time he's an adult. So Kent hopes to win the Triple Crown while his son can still see him do it, saying, "If we do accomplish this goal and he may lose his sight. He will never, ever forget the images of that day."

No $2 bet could ever reap such grand payoff.
  • Debbye Turner

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