Hall of Fame Jockey Kent Desormeaux has entered an alcohol treatment facility at Cirque Lodge in Sundance, Utah. Desormeaux, the rider of Preakness Stakes and Santa Anita Derby winner Exaggerator, will return to racing on Thursday at Belmont Park in preparation for this Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. Desormeaux released a statement through his agent J.R. Pegram:
“It was time to take a sober look at my life and take this step.”
The demons that plague Kent Desormeaux have been well known throughout the years. Just last year, Desormeaux was fined $2,500 by the Del Mar track stewards for being under the influence during a racing program. That caused the California Horse Racing Board to make him subject to breath tests.
If you go back further to 2012, Desormeaux lost his mount on Tiger Walk for the Preakness Stakes and the Dale Romans trained Dullahan in the Belmont Stakes. He has failed breath tests on both coasts and even failed a breath test at Woodbine Race Course in Canada in 2010. When he failed the test in Canada in 2010 he released a statement:
“I have to take more responsibility, so that’s what I’m doing now,” Desormeaux said. “You have to accept that the alcohol has gotten control of you, and once you understand that, you can start moving toward other steps.”
There is no person around horse racing that disputes the ability of Desormeaux or the difference he can make with any horse but he will be stuck again repairing relationships with owners and trainers, including his brother Keith Desormeaux, trainer of Exaggerator. In the past, he returned to show how much he wanted to compete by riding trainees amongst other things but this time he will have to show he truly wants to get better. Chances have abounded for the Hall of Famer but he has to find a way to get things right between his ears and quell the demons within him.
While the stint in rehab is short, let’s hope that Desormeaux gets it right this time and can race for another 10 years while mentoring the youth of the sport because there are not many who can speak to the great victories (three Kentucky Derby wins, two Preakness wins, a Belmont Stakes win, multiple Grade 1s and Breeders’s Cup wins, over 5,500 wins), horrible defeats (Real Quiet and Big Brown in Belmont Stakes going for Triple Crown), personal demons, and returning from major injury more than Desormeaux. That information could go a long way in helping the next generation of jockeys and horseman while he continues to enjoy the sport he loves.