Desormeaux Patriarch, Founder Of Acadiana Downs Bush Track, Dies At Age 80

Harris Desormeaux

Harris Desormeaux died at age 80 on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center in central Louisiana. The father of Hall of Fame jockey Kent and multiple Grade 1-winning trainer Keith, Harris Desormeaux was also the founder of the well-known Acadiana Downs bush track.

“My husband was the one who had a dear love of horses, and our first argument after we married was over a horse,” Harris’ wife, Brenda Desormeaux, told the Chicago Tribune in 2008. “He was in college at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and working two jobs as a lab technician and a security guard. I was a secretary getting my PHT — putting hubby through [school].

“One day he came home and told me he had bought a Quarter Horse. I said: ‘You did what? Where are we going to put it and where are we going to find the money to feed it?’ Somehow we found the money to rent a stall and feed it. I never cared much for horse racing, but it’s part of the Cajun culture. Kent’s interest was piqued when his dad had the racetrack.”

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