BALTIMORE — Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux won’t ride in today’s Preakness after failing a Breathalyzer test in New York.
Desormeaux, a two-time Preakness winner, was removed as the rider of 15-1 long shot Tiger Walk by owner Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Farm and trainer Ignacio Correas, and replaced by Ramon Dominguez.
The 42-year-old Desormeaux failed the test at Belmont Park, and was taken off all three of his scheduled mounts. He has not been suspended, but the New York State Racing and Wagering Board is conducting an investigation.
According to a rule in New York that went into effect April 27, every jockey named to ride is required to undergo a test for alcohol consumption.
“This was a team decision and sometimes things happen for a reason,” Sagamore Farm general manager Tom Mullikin wrote on the farm’s Twitter account. “We’re trying to run a professional operation & can’t have any distractions this weekend. We spoke w/ Kent and wished him well.”
Dominguez is a two-time Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s leading jockey, and is looking for his first Preakness win. He’s 0 for 9 but has finished second two times, with First Dude in 2010 and Scrappy T in 2005.
“Ramon Dominguez is a great rider and we plan to have a lot of fun tomorrow,” Mullikin added.
Desormeaux had one other mount today, in a maiden race following the Preakness. He is eligible to ride, but it’s not immediately clear whether the jockey will come to Baltimore.
Jockeys at Pimlico are not required to take a Breathalyzer test, but the track stewards may order one if they have “reasonable cause.”
Desormeaux is a three-time Eclipse Award winner with more than 5,400 wins, including Kentucky Derby and Preakness victories aboard Real Quiet in 1998 and Big Brown in 2008.