Jockey Kent Desormeaux to enter alcohol rehab program
failed breathalyzer test costs jock shot at Preakness, Belmont
By Jerry Bossert / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, May 25, 2012, 12:07 AM
Kent Desormeaux is finally seeking help.
The 42-year-old jockey will start a six-week outpatient alcohol rehabilitation program beginning Tuesday, according to his agent, J.R. Pegram.
Desormeaux failed a Breathalyzer test May 18 at Belmont Park that not only cost him three mounts that day, but also his mount, Tiger Walk, in the Preakness Stakes and Dullahan for the June 9 Belmont Stakes.
Dullahan is expected to be one of the choices behind I’ll Have Another, who is seeking to become racing’s first Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed was the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont in the same year.
It was the second time in his career Desormeaux had failed a Breathalyzer test; he flunked one in Canada in 2010, which cost him a stakes winner, and he also admitted to being intoxicated while doing a radio show that same year.
“He’ll be allowed to ride in the afternoon and then he’ll have four hours of counseling every night after the races, including individual and group therapy,” Pegram said.
NYRA stewards confirmed that Desormeaux would be allowed to ride, as long as he passes his daily Breathalyzer test, which all jockeys have to take before being cleared to compete.
Pegram didn’t reveal the name of the program Desormeaux is attending.
“Losing Dullahan was an eye-opener,” Pegram said. “It’s time for him to get his act right.”
Desormeaux has won 5,450 races in a career that began in 1986. He has won the Derby three times, the Preakness twice and the Belmont once and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
“I’m here for him whenever he gets straightened out,” said Dale Romans, who trains Dullahan.
Both of Desormeaux’s mounts scratched Thursday at Belmont, and he was unavailable for comment, but on Monday he told the Daily News that “I’ve got to work for my life, my kids, my family and my career right now.”
Desormeaux has been legally separated from his wife, Sonia, for four years, and has two sons, Joshua and Jacob. Jacob was born deaf and is battling a rare degenerative disorder called Usher syndrome, which could eventually take away his vision, too.
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