Updated on 09/03/2011 11:13AM

Desormeaux charged with reckless endangerment at Saratoga; taken off Thursday mount


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux was not permitted by the stewards to ride at Saratoga Thursday following his Wednesday arrest by Saratoga police in which he was charged with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, after nearly hitting a Pinkerton with his car following the races.

"Mr. Desormeaux will not be riding based on the events of the last 24 hours," said Lee Park, a spokesman for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

Desormeaux was named on two horses Thursday, but one scratched. He was replaced on his other mount, Dullahan in the $150,000 With Anticipation Stakes, by Julien Leparoux.

Park said he would not speculate on whether Desormeaux would be permitted to ride on Friday, when he was named on just one horse, Free Entry, in the $75,000 Dynaformer Stakes.

Desormeaux on Thursday said he spent about 45 minutes "in a tiny cage" Wednesday before being released.

Desormeaux, who rode two horses on Wednesday, said the Pinkerton was dramatic in her gestures while directing cars attempting to exit the track. He said he was just playing around when he drove his car within inches of the Pinkerton. Desormeaux said he didn’t hit the Pinkerton with his car. However, Saratoga police witnessed the incident, approached Desormeaux and arrested him.

"I was trying to be cute," Desormeaux said Thursday morning.

Desormeaux, who ranks 19th all-time in wins with 5,414 and fifth all-time in purse money won with more than $240 million, has seen his business diminish in the last year, during which he has displayed erratic behavior. First, he appeared to be intoxicated when he did a satellite radio interview, conducted three days after the 2010 Kentucky Derby, during which he was questioned whether he may have cost Paddy O’Prado second in that race by not riding to the wire.

Two months later, at Woodbine, Desormeaux failed a breathalyzer, prohibiting him from riding that day’s card which included Hold Me Back in the Dominion Day Handicap. That horse, owned by WinStar Farm, won the race with a different rider. WinStar, and many other owners, cut their business ties with Desormeaux.

At the current Saratoga meet, Desormeaux has won 13 races from just 52 mounts. Stewards fined Desormeaux $500 for excessive use of the whip when he guided Need an Angel to victory in Monday’s seventh race.

Desormeaux, elected into the Hall of Fame in 2004, has won the Kentucky Derby three times, the Preakness twice, and one Belmont Stakes. He has won three Eclipse Awards as North America’s top jockey – two as a journeyman and one as an apprentice.