The earliest Racing Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux will be allowed to return to riding is after Oct. 6 following a stewards’ ruling released Aug. 7 by the California Horse Racing Board.
Because of several transgressions, Desormeaux has not ridden since Jan. 23 when he won an allowance race at Santa Anita Park Wed Stella Noir . On March 4 California stewards indefinitely suspended Desormeaux after the rider failed to attend a March 3 hearing. The decision released Sunday afternoon noted that Desormeaux appeared for a formal hearing July 29. That appearance saw the stewards set aside the March 4 suspension and put in place a 60-day suspension that will run from Aug. 8-Oct. 6.
The stewards said the 60-day suspension is for a second offense disorderly conduct violation—specifically, aggressive behavior in an RV park at Share Mar Nov. 23, 2021, and for failure to follow a written agreement with the Winners Foundation. With a presence at every track in California, the Winners Foundation assists frontside and backstretch workers troubled by alcohol, drugs, gambling problems, or mental illness.
The decision released Sunday by the stewards also puts conditions on Desormeaux should he decide to return to competition.
“Furthermore Kent Desormeaux shall sign a testing agreement with the California Horse Racing Board while licensed in California and is ordered to be evaluated by the Winners Foundation and shall abide by the recommendations of that organization,” the ruling states. “Failure to do so may result in a suspension of his license.”
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Reached by e-mail Sunday, Roger Licht, the attorney for Desormeaux, said he looks forward to the rider moving forward following this decision.
“I am hopeful that he will come back in 60 days and regain the form that has made him one of the finest riders to ever hold a license,” Licht said.
With 6,116 wins, Desormeaux ranks 18th on the all-time list for North American riders. The 52-year-old jockey is a three-time Eclipse Award winner, twice as outstanding jockey and once as outstanding apprentice jockey, and he owns seven classic victories and six Breeders’ Cup scores. He entered the Racing Hall of Fame in 2004.
The stewards’ decision concluded by noting that Desormeaux is denied access to all racing premises in the CHRB jurisdiction during the suspension.