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Horseback Racing While Drunk? Not At The Preakness

Kent Desormeau rides Sacristy to win the Old Hat Stakeshorse race in Hallandale Beach, Fla. on Jan. 1, 2012, in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Kent Desormeau rides Sacristy to win the Old Hat Stakeshorse race in Hallandale Beach, Fla. on Jan. 1, 2012, in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

There's a jockey switch for tonight's Preakness Stakes in Baltimore: the 2004 Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux won't ride Tiger Walk in the race. He failed a breathalyzer test administered yesterday at Belmont Park, in New York.

Although it sounds surprising, jockeys are now required to take a daily breathalyzer test in New York if they plan to ride, according to the Daily Racing Form. Desormeaux's level was .05 percent or higher and that's considered impaired. He was also removed from three races yesterday.

Although the Preakness is staged in Maryland, not New York, the horse's owner, quickly parted ways with the jockey. Tom Mullikin, the general manager of Sagamore Racing, "...We can't have any distractions this weekend. We spoke w/ Kent and wished him well." Jockey Ramon Dominguez will ride Tiger Walk instead tonight.

Desormeaux's experienced this before: in 2010, he failed a breathalyzer test at a Canadian track, according to ESPN. His replacement guided his mount to win the day's biggest prize.

The Preakness starts at 6:18 PM eastern time. Be prompt: the New York Daily News notes the race is one and 3/16's of a mile, so it'll all be over in a couple of minutes. Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another will be looking to catch the second jewel in horse racing's triple crown, notes AP.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Korva Coleman is a newscaster for NPR.
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