SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux was arrested by Saratoga police Wednesday and charged with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, after nearly hitting a security official with his car following the races.
Desormeaux said Thursday he spent about 45 minutes "in a tiny cage" Wednesday before being released. He was named to ride two horses Thursday, but one was scratched. The stewards were planning to meet with the rider later in the day before determining whether to permit him to ride Dullahan in the $150,000 With Anticipation Stakes for 2-year-old colts.
Desormeaux, who rode two horses Wednesday, said the Pinkerton officer was dramatic in her gestures while directing cars attempting to exit the track. He said he was just playing around when he drove his car within inches of her. Desormeaux said he didn't hit the officer with his car. However, Saratoga police witnessed the incident, approached Desormeaux and arrested him.
"I was trying to be cute," Desormeaux said Thursday morning.
Desormeaux, who ranks 19th all time in wins with 5,414 and fifth all time in purse money with more than $240 million, has seen his business diminish in the last year, stemming from two alcohol-related incidents. First, he appeared to be intoxicated when he did a satellite-radio interview three days after the 2010 Kentucky Derby in which some questioned whether he may have cost Paddy O'Prado second by not riding to the wire.
Two months later, at Woodbine, Desormeaux failed a Breathalyzer, prohibiting him from riding that day's card, which included Hold Me Back in the Dominion Day Handicap. That horse, owned by WinStar Farm, won the race with a different rider. WinStar, and many other owners, cut their business ties with Desormeaux.
At the current Saratoga meet, Desormeaux has won 13 races from just 52 mounts. Stewards fined Desormeaux $500 for excessive use of the whip when he guided Need an Angel to victory in Monday's seventh race.
Desormeaux, elected to the Hall of Fame in 2004, has won the Kentucky Derby three times, the Preakness twice and the Belmont Stakes once. He has won three Eclipse Awards as North America's top jockey -- two as a journeyman and one as an apprentice.