05/25/2012 12:51PM

Belmont Park: Desormeaux to attend out-patient alcohol rehab program

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ELMONT, N.Y. – Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux will enter a six-week out-patient alcohol rehabilitation program, his agent, J.R. Pegram confirmed on Friday.

The program, which begins Tuesday, will allow Desormeaux to continue to ride as he undergoes therapy.

Pegram said that Desormeaux will participate in therapy sessions each night for four to five hours. Pegram said some sessions will be done individually and some in a group setting.

Pegram said Desormeaux preferred the extended out-patient program as compared to a 28-day in-patient facility.

“If he checks in for a 28-day program then he’s not able to ride,” Pegram said. “He wants to ride, he wants to ride more horses than what he’s doing; to do that he needs a lot of help.”

On May 18, Desormeaux failed a Breathalyzer test at Belmont Park that prompted the stewards to remove him from his three mounts that day. For the May 19 Preakness, the connections of Tiger Walk replaced Desormeaux with Ramon Dominguez. Earlier this week, the connections of Dullahan, whom Desormeaux rode to a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby on May 5, replaced him with Javier Castellano for the June 9 Belmont Stakes.

“He came to this conclusion two or three days ago, he’s doing this on his own, he has finally seen that he needs to do something to get help,” Pegram said. “The way his lifestyle is right now, it’s not cutting it.”

Desormeaux was cleared by the stewards to ride last Sunday and he has ridden each racing day since, though his business is down.

Since winning the Grade 1 Blue Grass aboard Dullahan at Keeneland on April 14, Desormeaux entered Friday winless with his last 25 mounts. He had one mount Friday at Belmont, was not scheduled to ride anywhere on Saturday, and has two mounts at Belmont on Sunday.

Desormeaux, a three-time Eclipse Award winner, ranks fifth all-time in purse money won ($243.1 million) and 16th all-time in races won (5,450).