05/25/2011 4:30PM

Evangeline: Jeff Faul resurrects riding career


Jeff Faul is mounting a comeback at Evangeline Downs.

Although a knee injury interrupted a similar attempt at returning to the saddle back in the winter, most of Faul’s downtime in recent years has been admittedly self-inflicted.

“I have had a problem with alcohol,” Faul said candidly. “I have been blessed with a talent and ability for riding, but my drinking has gotten in the way a lot of times.”

While drink and a short temper have been responsible for most of Faul’s trials over the years, it was the accusation of being in possession of an illegal electrical device at Great Lakes Downs in 2003 that produced his longest suspension.

“They never really proved that I had a battery, but I showed up for my hearing drunk,” Faul said. “That was pretty much that.”

A 6-year suspension and $7,500 fine was the result and Faul was out of action until late last summer.

Daryl Parker, a Michigan steward who helped broker a long-distance resolution to Faul’s situation, considers the incident closed.

“Jeff fulfilled his obligations,” said Parker recently from River Downs, where is also a steward. “He did the time and paid the fine. We wish him all the best going forward. We able to do this without having him come all the way up to Michigan. He has been through enough.”

Faul’s return to good standing in Michigan opened the door to regain his license in Louisiana. Faul, 45, has won more than 1,700 races in his star-crossed career.

“I’m an addict,” he says. “I know that now. I’ve got to keep going to my meetings and sticking with the program. I’m starting to get people to have faith in me again.”