Updated on 05/21/2012 12:25PM

Preakness: Dominguez to ride Tiger Walk after Desormeaux fails Breathalyzer test

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Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Kent Desormeaux failed a Breathalyzer test at Belmont Park on Friday.

BALTIMORE – Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux was replaced by Ramon Dominguez aboard longshot Tiger Walk for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes after Desormeaux failed a Breathalyzer test at Belmont Park on Friday and was removed from his three mounts by that track’s stewards.

“We’re trying to run a professional operation and can’t have any distractions this weekend,’” Tom Millikin, general manager for Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Farm, the owner of Tiger Walk, wrote on Twitter. “We spoke with Kent and wished him well.”

The Breathalyzer test revealed that Desormeaux had a blood-alcohol level of .05 percent or higher, which constitutes “alchoholic impairment.” Jockeys in New York must pass a Breathalyzer test each day in order to ride.

A spokesman for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board said the board is “conducting an investigation into the matter.”

In a phone interview with Daily Racing Form on Friday afternoon, Desormeaux admitted he had “a little too much wine with dinner last night” but said he had stopped drinking by 8:30 p.m., knowing that he would have to take a Breathalyzer test in order to ride Friday.

“I guess my body doesn’t deal with it the way your body does,” Desormeaux said from New York.

Desormeaux had only one other mount on Saturday’s card, in a maiden race following the Preakness. It was unclear if he would come to Baltimore to ride that horse, though he would be eligible to ride.

Jockeys at Pimlico are not required to take a Breathalyzer test, but the track stewards may order one if they have “reasonable cause.”

In July 2010, Desormeaux failed a Breathalyzer test at Woodbine and was removed from his mount, Hold Me Back, in the $216,400 Dominion Day Handicap. Hold Me Back won that race with Tyler Pizarro aboard.

Desormeaux, 42, is a three-time Eclipse Award winner. He ranks 19th all time in races won (5,450) and is fifth all time in purse money won with $243,167,894.

Richard More than 1 year ago
It is shameful that Kent Desomeaux would lose his mount at the Preakness! Tiger Walk.Teeth of the Dog.and Pretension have run front riding races before that could have had an effect on Bodemeister getting in a speed duel with any one of them. I had tiger Walk in one of my superfectas’ because Kent was riding him. Kent knows the rules of all the tracks and has had problems with trainers and owners for being cocky.but not stupid. Horse racing is dangerous enough with having a jockey that could be hung over. The fans who love horseracing like I do not need any accidents where jockeys or horses could be killed or injured. I was a tuna fisherman and my dad was a captain and the environmentalist contributed to killing our livelihood. The stewards made the right decision!
james More than 1 year ago
May explain the increasingly erratic rides he gives the last couple of yrs. He is a great money jock, though, but I have been betting against him more often than not the last 2 yrs. Also, your body gets rid of alcohol the same way as anyone elses-- about 1 oz per hour. And, although I drink with the bestg of them (specially around Derby and Breeders Cup) I don't particularly want my surgeon or my pilot failing a breathalyzer. Maybe my stockbroker
st More than 1 year ago
So Zenyatta can have all the guinness yet Kent D isnt allowed to ate to make weight or allowed a little wine
Willian J. Brune More than 1 year ago
In place of a breathalyzer test, he should have had to take a verbal test. Questions like: What is the Preakness; name the name of the track it is run; what is the name of the colt you will be riding; name the trainer of the colt you be riding. Answers to those questions are far more reliable to determine ability to ride than a breathalyzer.
earl More than 1 year ago
Lets Be Real, Willam Do you really think every jockey in every race knows the names of the horses. The names of the horses are for the gamblers. Jockeys on race day are in a fast paced enviroment- changing between races and trying to secure mounts and such . I'm guessing even Pat Day on a horse had to look at his silks for a reminder of which trainer he might be riding for. Next time your at the track, Ask a jockey in the paddock on a weekday racecard who the horse he is riding, I bet you would be surprised how many times the jockey doesn't know the name of the horse. Once a jockey is on a horse, A jockey has to respect the horse no matter the level of the horse. Its life and death out on the track and thats why the breathalyzer is the most accurate way of the safety for all jockeys. Outriders-Gate Crew-Jockeys all need to be focused on safety
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
I would think just being a jockey is one of the hardest career choices. Maybe for some the money is good. I don't think I would like to go to work everyday and have a ambulance follow behind. Very dangerous. Maybe it is true and he just wanted a little normalcy at dinner and have some wine with his food. It is OK when stock brokers do it, surgeons do it but for a jockey, no no. Doesn't seem fair.
Sheillagh Dare More than 1 year ago
Such a shame for a talented jockey like Kent. He lost his mount in the Preakness which is a black mark on his career. Hope he gets some help soon before it's too late.
ECarlos727 More than 1 year ago
You can tell Kent was pissed becaused he called out the person doing the interview "“I guess my body doesn’t deal with it the way your body does,” that was a straight shot at him. Sounds like a teenager after wrecking his dads car the night before and claiming it wasnt the 18 pack he drank.
James Scott More than 1 year ago
I heard he was riding like Lee Marvin in "Cat Ballou"
Miki Lynne More than 1 year ago
That's funny! I woke up in the middle of the night and watched "Cat Ballou". I hadn't seen that movie in over 20 yrs. What a coincidence you mention it the next morning. The drunken riding scenes were hilarious! Now I have to find all the entries today with "Cat" in the name. Hunch time!
charming idiot More than 1 year ago
if you stop drinking at 8:30 pm, you blow a 0.00 the next day.
Ron Micetic More than 1 year ago
I remember Clarence Meaux riding at Fairmount Park in the late 60s so drunk he could could barely stay in the saddle.