Preakness Stakes-winning jockey Kent Desormeaux has gone to an alcohol rehabilitation facility but will return in time to ride Exaggerator in the Belmont Stakes.
“It was time to take a sober look at my life and take this step,” Desormeaux said in a brief statement issued 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 two weeks earlier.
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.
He is scheduled to return to riding on Thursday at Belmont Park in New York where Exaggerator is expected to run in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.
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 $2500 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 has not failed any.