Storied jockey Kent Desormeaux is a legend on the track, but he’s had his demons off of it. Earlier this month, the Hall of Fame jockey was suspended for 60 days for an off-track offense.
Desormeaux, who has not ridden since January, will see his suspension run through Thursday, Oct. 6. It bans him from setting foot on any California horse racing venue under the California Horse Racing Board’s jurisdiction. He must also undergo regular testing, too.
The CHRB suspended him in response to rules violations that took place last November. Desormeaux violated rule No. 1874 (disorderly conduct) by displaying “aggressive behavior” at Del Mar Race Track’s RV park on Nov. 23, 2021, according to CHRB records. The violation was his second offense, the record noted.
Also contributing to his punishment was the stewards’ ruling that Desormeaux violated a written agreement he had with the Winners Foundation, a group that helps members of the California horse racing community who struggle with, among other things, substance abuse.
Complaint alleges domestic violence
Minutes from the CHRB’s Board of Stewards report reveal that Desormeaux attended a Del Mar hearing on July 29.
A complaint was made against the jockey in response to “an incident that occurred at the RV parking lot at Del Mar race track on Nov. 23, 2021, in which he and his girlfriend were involved in an argument.”
A Winners Foundation representative, a valet, and also a member of the track’s operation staff provided witness testimony.
Desormeaux attended the hearing with his lawyer. The jockey did not attend a CHRB hearing in March.
Desormeaux had a run-in with the law in January
Desormeaux did not start the year well. In January, he was arrested on suspicion of domestic abuse battery by the Breaux Bridge Police Department. He wasn’t charged with a crime, but the state of Louisiana has up to three years to do so.
However, 1/ST Racing had seemingly had enough of Desormeaux’s antics. 1/ST, the parent company of Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park, essentially banned him from their facilities.
Suspension adds to a tumultuous career
Desormeaux is one of the best jockeys in the sport’s history. He’s in the Hall of Fame and has won seven Triple Crown races. He was also within a nose of winning the Triple Crown in 1998.
For as high as his career has gone, there’s also been some staggering lows, too. In 2016, he entered alcohol rehab in Utah after a series of failed breathalyzer tests. Del Mar gave him a $2,500 fine for being under the influence.
He entered rehab again in 2020. Whereas his previous rehabilitation was relatively quick, his 2020 stint lasted three months. When he returned to racing, he felt like a changed man, he told the Thoroughbred Daily News in December 2020:
“This [facility] was not a resort. It was not a vacation. It was not intended to buy some time. I learned a lot about myself and came back to reality. There’s a lot of people who certainly care about me, love me and they were deeply concerned.”