Desormeaux fails breath test, pulled from Preakness
For the second time in his career, Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux has been removed from his mount for failing a Breathalyzer test. Tested at Belmont Park Friday, he registered a blood-alcohol level of .05 percent or higher, which constitutes “alchoholic impairment.”
The 42-year-old Lafayette native was replaced in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, by Ramon Dominguez, who will be aboard longshot Tiger Walk.
In July 2010 Desormeaux failed a Breathalyzer test at Woodbine and was removed from Hold Me Back in the $216,400 Dominion Day Handicap. With Tyler Pizarro aboard, Hold Me Back won the race.
Daily Racing Form reports:
“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.” ...
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.
The Baltimore Sun noted that Desormeaux was picked up by Sagamore, owned by Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank, after his Kentucky Derby mount, Dullahan, was taken out of consideration for Saturday's race. The Sun reported:
This is not the first time Desormeaux has had trouble with alcohol. He conducted a radio interview while allegedly drunk in 2010, then was suspended for a race day when he failed a Breathalyzer in Canada. He said then that he would seek counseling for an alcohol problem.
Last year, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after intentionally hitting a police officer with his car.
A New York racing rule implemented in late April states that the “presence of .05 percent or more alcohol in the blood by weight per volume … shall constitute alcoholic impairment and be a violation.”
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