07/01/2010 11:00PM

Desormeaux fails Woodbine breathalyzer


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Kent Desormeaux, who had flown in from New York to ride Hold Me Back for trainer Bill Mott in Thursday's $216,400 Dominion Day Stakes at Woodbine, was taken off his mount by the stewards after failing a breathalyzer test. Tyler Pizarro picked up the mount on Hold Me Back, who won by a head and earned a winner's prize of $120,000.

"I've never been so embarrassed," Desormeaux said Friday morning at Belmont Park where he was scheduled to ride three horses. "Very unprofessional."

Desormeaux said he had a drink the night before at a birthday party for a friend, but did not drink on the plane ride from New York to Canada.

The maximum allowed under the breathalyzer test, which is administered by clerk of the scales Bobby Bertrand and is required to be taken by all jockeys and racing officials prior to the day's racing, is .02 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

Ontario Racing Commission stewards confirmed that Desormeaux had blown the .02 maximum when he arrived at approximately 12:20 p.m. and again when retested 15 minutes later.

Desormeaux had until one hour prior to post time, which was scheduled for 4:34 p.m., to take the test.

"Once you've presented yourself, and you've blown, there's no going back," said an ORC steward who requested anonymity.

Desormeaux was fined $100 and assessed a one-day suspension, which was considered served on Thursday.

For purposes of comparison, motor vehicle operators in Ontario face a charge of impaired driving if they blow over .08 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. A reading between .05 and .08 results in a roadside license suspension of three to seven days.

Hold Me Back is owned by WinStar Farm, which also owns Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer, a horse Desormeaux used to ride, but on whom he was replaced by Mike Smith for the Belmont.

- additional reporting by David Grening