Horses

Hall of Fame jockey Desormeaux to return to riding after rehab stay

Kent Desormeaux, aboard Exaggerator, moved to the winner’s circle after the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, May 21, 2016, in Baltimore.
Kent Desormeaux, aboard Exaggerator, moved to the winner’s circle after the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, May 21, 2016, in Baltimore. AP

Hall of Fame jockey and three-time Kentucky Derby winner Kent Desormeaux issued a brief statement Saturday through his agent, J.R. Pegram, stating that Desormeaux will return to riding in New York on June 9 following a brief stay in an alcohol rehabilitation program at Cirque Lodge in Sundance, Utah.

“It was time to take a sober look at my life and take this step,” said Desormeaux, who is set to ride Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator — who is trained by his older brother Keith — in next Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. According to Pegram, Desormeaux, who last rode at Santa Anita on May 28 is scheduled to ride this Thursday at Belmont as he’ll pilot Shrinking Violet in the $150,000 Intercontinental Stakes for trainer Wesley Ward.

In an interview with Daily Racing Form, Pegram added that Desormeaux traveled to Cirque Lodge last Tuesday and will remain there until Monday. While in New York, Desormeaux will be accompanied by a “faculty member” from Cirque Lodge and will continue outpatient counseling.

Desormeaux, 46, has had a history of alcohol-related issues over the years, including a failed breathalyzer test at Belmont Park in 2012. As a result of that failed breathalyzer, Desormeaux lost the mount on Tiger Walk in that year’s Preakness Stakes and aboard Grade I winner Dullahan in the 2012 Belmont Stakes.

He also failed a breathalyzer at Woodbine in 2010 and one at Del Mar last July.

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