Preakness-winning jockey Kent Desormeaux in alcohol rehab

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Preakness Stakes-winning jockey Kent Desormeaux has gone to alcohol rehabilitation but will return in time to ride Exaggerator in the Belmont Stakes next weekend.

“It was time to take a sober look at my life and take this step,” Desormeaux said in a brief statement issued Saturday through his agent J.R. Pegram.

The 46-year-old Hall of Fame rider won the Preakness aboard Exaggerator on May 21 after they finished second in the Kentucky Derby on May 7. The colt is trained by Desormeaux’s older brother Keith.

Desormeaux last rode on May 30 at Northern California’s Golden Gate Fields in the All American Stakes, where he finished 12th aboard Blue Tone. His last day of riding at Santa Anita was May 29, when he won the third race on a horse trained by his brother.

He is scheduled to return to riding Thursday at Belmont Park in New York, where Exaggerator is expected to run in the Belmont Stakes next Saturday.

Desormeaux went to rehab at Cirque Lodge in Sundance, Utah, a facility specializing in drug and alcohol rehabilitation that is popular with celebrities. He has struggled with alcohol issues in the past that have cost him mounts on good horses. His family, including Keith, has publicly expressed concern about the harm they believe he is doing to himself and his career.

Last year, Desormeaux was fined $2,500 by track stewards for being under the influence of alcohol during a race program at Del Mar. He has been subjected to breath tests by the California Horse Racing Board any day he has ridden in Southern California since then and hasn’t failed any.

Desormeaux failed breath tests at tracks in 2010 and 2012.

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