Originally posted on Richmond.com on September 9th, written by Savanah Reger
For jockey Kendrick Carmouche, all he could do was smile.
“I got a big one in Virginia,” Carmouche said. “I’m a proud man. It’s about time.”
Integration, in the 20th running of the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs in New Kent, entered with 6-1 odds, sitting him in the middle of the pack. But Integration got to the outside and took charge, winning the $500,000 purse.
“He just wanted to just run all out,” Carmouche said. “I just had to guide him.”
So with Integration’s ownership team jumping with joy and hoisting the Virginia Derby trophy, the final day of the Colonial Downs horse racing season came to a close. The Virginia Derby, along with the Virginia Oaks were the highlight races, with combined purses of $750,000.
“I’m just proud that they shipped me here today to be successful at Colonial Downs,” Carmouche said. “In my first Virginia Derby, how are you going to beat it baby?”
Even with the rain, and the lightning delay, the track got all 11 races off and spectators still made the trip out. Clutching their drinks and hats, the weather didn’t deter them nor keep them from jumping with joy from a race winner.
Through the first quarter in the Virginia Derby, the second to last race of the afternoon, Runaway Storm and Salute the Stars led the pack. Carmouche said he hung back a bit at the start, but not enough to where he would be forced to go wide.
Then, at the end, Integration sprinted, and there was no stopping him.
The favorite heading into the race, Program Trading with jockey Flavien Prat, finished second. Runaway storm finished third.
“Louisiana in the house,” Carmouche said. “I’ve been here a lot of years, maybe 15 or 12 years ago … got the horse to win, that’s the way I look at it.”
The Virginia Oaks was the ninth race of the day, taking place right before the Virginia Derby. And Thirty Thou Kevin, with jockey Trevor McCarthy, burst out of the gate and never looked back.
The duo started quick out of the gate and entered the first quarter leading the pack and crossed the line in the same spot.
“I really kind of didn’t go into the plan with being on the lead,” McCarthy said. “She jumped out of the really, really good and I didn’t take anything away.”
McCarthy added that Thirty Thou Kevin trained very well this past season and that quick burst of speed at the beginning showed that training.
“It’s the best she’s ever trained,” McCarthy said, “and just ride her with a lot of confidence.”
McCarthy is back at Colonial Downs for the first time since he got engaged and married to fellow jockey Kate Davis. The two grew up in horse racing together and worked together at Colonial Downs.
So being back at the track and taking the win meant a little more.
“I’ve never won the Oaks or the Derby,” McCarthy said. “To get one with the Oaks so far is super cool.”
McCarthy also rode in the Virginia Derby but didn’t place in the top three, riding Mondego.
So, on the final day of the season at Colonial Downs, there were smiles from ownership, jockeys and fans. Sometimes an occasional smile would appear from the horses as well.
Even with the rain, McCarthy added the track is one of the best in the country in the grass and it’s one he’s always loved.
“When it rains the turf is way better than any other course,” McCarthy said. “I wouldn’t miss it.”