06/04/2016 5:25PM

Desormeaux enters alcohol rehab program, will ride in Belmont

Shigeki Kikkawa
Jockey Kent Desormeaux

ARCADIA, Calif. – Jockey Kent Desormeaux, who is scheduled to ride Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator in the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 11, is currently undergoing an alcohol rehabilitation program in Utah, according to a statement released by Santa Anita publicity.

Desormeaux, 46, made the announcement Saturday through his agent, J.R. Pegram.

“It was time to take a sober look at my life and take this step,” Desormeaux said in the statement.

The statement indicated that Desormeaux sought counseling at Cirque Lodge in Sundance, Utah. The organization’s website said that it aids people with drug and alcohol dependencies.

Desormeaux is scheduled to resume riding at Belmont Park on Thursday. He has not ridden since Monday, when he rode Blue Tone to a 12th-place finish in the Grade 3 All American Stakes at Golden Gate Fields. Desormeaux last rode at Santa Anita on May 29.

In an interview, Pegram said that Desormeaux traveled to Cirque Lodge last Tuesday and will remain there until Monday, when he travels to New York. While in New York, Desormeaux will be accompanied by a “faculty member” from Cirque Lodge and will continue outpatient counseling, Pegram said.

Desormeaux intends to resume riding at Santa Anita on June 16, Pegram said, but will continue counseling on an outpatient basis.

“They’ll monitor him for the next several weeks,” Pegram said.

Last summer, Desormeaux was fined $2,500 by track stewards for being under the influence of alcohol during a race program at Del Mar in July. Desormeaux later received a stay of the fine by the California Horse Racing Board, allowing him to appeal the penalty.

Desormeaux was suspended 30 days for the infraction, but the suspension was not enacted as long as the Hall of Fame rider did not have an alcohol-related infraction through the term of his current license on Feb. 2, 2018.

Stewards Scott Chaney and Kim Sawyer said on Saturday that Desormeaux later paid the fine. Chaney said Desormeaux’s current counseling is not a violation of the 2015 infraction since the rider has not faced sanction from a horse-racing regulatory body or law enforcement agency for an alcohol-related infraction.

Sawyer said that Desormeaux has been subjected to breath tests each day he has ridden in Southern California since last summer and has passed each test. The tests are conducted by California Horse Racing Board investigators.

Desormeaux, 44, has had alcohol-related troubled in the past. He failed a breath test at Woodbine in 2010 and again at Belmont Park in May 2012. As a result of the failed test at Belmont Park, Desormeaux was taken off Tiger Walk for the Preakness Stakes, run the following day.

Desormeaux has won 13 riding titles at Southern California tracks.

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Marshall Schwalbach 11 months ago
He has won some big races in his career. Many people get help with their drinking problems and overcome the disease . I don't know him but I have followed his career. I think he is one of the better jockeys in California . He just has to improve his life choices. Those that have nothing to say but negative comments are being unfair. Everyone deserves a chance to become a better person , parent , and yes jockey." None of us are perfect no not one of us! " I think Thomas Jefferson said that. 
Jim Fields 11 months ago
You who cast stones, and don't have a clue to the real facts, on riders or horses.  First, I am not a fan of either Keith or his brother, but unless you have walked in Kent's shoes, you don't know how much extreme pressure their is on a 120 pound rider to stay on a 1200 pound horse racing against 12 other horses and riders at 40 miles an hour.  It will cause a lot of people to have a drink or two, and a few more to lose control of that situation.  Kent finally has the fortitude to face that lack of control situation.  Kudu's to him.  Secondly, what do you idiots think the Stewards and the State Racing Commissions do, if they don't regulate all aspects of racing.  Riders and Trainers are as afraid of them, as regular folks are afraid of the IRS or FBI.  That doesn't keep a few from working their way around the law, but their are very stringent regulations and rules for every person involved in horse racing.  Yes, horses are given drugs, phenolbutizone and lasix, one is for a headache or minor pain relief, and the other makes them pee within four hours of a race. There are some other extremely regulated drugs that are allowed, but none that are detrimental to race or riding horses.  Yes, there are a few that sometimes skirt the rules and regs, but they are few and far between, and usually are caught and fined or more.  Most of those are the result of poor timing in the use of some drugs, cause we are all human and mistakes are made.  So, yeah it is a sport, and it does have regulators, and it does have cheaters, but, believe me, this industry doesn't want, or need, any more bad publicity.
Ray Sousa 11 months ago
I've seen great rides by this jockey .there is no doubt that he has the gift to be a great jockey. I've also seen some really bad rides on occasion .but most of the time Kent is on his game. The problem is this is not just a hobby sport real money is wagered people loose serious money when a jockey makes a mistake and a drunk or doped jockey throws a wrench into any handicapping. You always wonder. I hope he stays clean and succeeds .its a good sign that he now has admitted he has a issue and goes to take care of his problem. As opposed to showing up tipsy.
Scott Scheib 11 months ago
Well said Ray!!  Keep the pressure on these dopes!
Mark 12 months ago
This site pulls posts they do not like.  I dont like that.  All it left is the sympathizers to poor decision makers.  
Ray Sousa 11 months ago
The racing press are apologists and protectors of all that's wrong with racing. It's almost as if these guys want to kiss up to the cheats to get tips.
Scott Scheib 12 months ago
The one thing horse racing no longer can claim is that they are a sport!  The jocks and the horses are athletes, but a sport usually has one or two governing bodies and a commissioner.
The corruption of the connections, and greedy track owners will never allow that to happen.
That is why it can never be called a "sport"
Frank 12 months ago
So jockeys cant drink during races because its dangerous -- but horse racing allows drugs to be administered to horses which are also dangerous to the horses and that OK?  what a bunch of hypocrites in this sport!  And they all say they care about the horses? 
Chris 12 months ago
You do realize they drug test the horses, right?
Frank 12 months ago
you do realize the sport is corrupt right -- and they only drug test when they race so the drugs can be administered during training and also you do realize there are a lot of legal performance enhancing drugs.

Yea sorry Chris I do realize that - thanks.

Holly Summers 11 months ago
horses are put in holding barns and tested before and after ....do your research Frank
Frank 11 months ago
yea I know Holly there is no cheating going on in HR.  Everyone is honest and everyone has the horses best interest in mind....

Frank 12 months ago
I dont care that Kent is drinking -- thats his choice.  I do care that people are administering drugs to the horses purposely and forcefully - that part makes me sick.

Mark 12 months ago
I don't feel bad. If you don't have the discipline to kick such a habit, you are simply the weakest. I honestly cannot wait until this derelict is done riding for good. Shame on those that keep giving him mounts. He's just a jockey. He has to be on the right horse in the first place so don't believe that Exaagerator needs him.
Biffle Krest 12 months ago
Had to be a reason he was at lowly Arlington Park for a few Summers this decade...
r 12 months ago
Vicious disease. Good luck zoo him and his family.