BALTIMORE — Kent Desormeaux, who was taken off his mounts Friday at Belmont after failing a Breathalyzer test, will not ride Sagamore Farm’s Tiger Walk in the Preakness.
Sagamore manager Tom Mullikin said Ramon Dominguez will get the ride.
“We just can’t have that,” Mullikin said Friday after watching Sagamore filly Millionreasonswhy finish second in the eighth race. “We’re trying to be professional. We don’t need those distractions.”
Dominguez is tied for the best winning percentage among all jockeys this year (with Javier Castellano, at 25 percent) and has won the past two Eclipse awards for Outstanding Rider after finishing atop the earnings list. He has ridden for Sagamore before and was their top choice. He agreed right away.
“We picked up the top jockey out there, and we’re not going to miss a step,” Mullikin said. “Obviously, we talked to Kent and talked to his agent. I’m a Kent Desormeaux fan. We wished him well. But we all have responsibilities to uphold, and this is too big a race to have something like this going on.”
Dominguez, who was the top rider in Maryland for three of his five years here, won the Miss Preakness stakes aboard Agave Kiss Friday after agreeing to take the Preakness mount.
“I’m excited to ride the horse, not necessarily [about] the way it happened,” he said. “I’m happy they chose me to ride this horse. I know very little [about him]. I rode against him a couple of times in New York, and I will have to go look at a couple of replays to take a look at his running style.”
Desormeaux was picked up by Sagamore, owned by Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank, after his Kentucky Derby mount, Dullahan, was taken out of consideration for Saturday’s second leg of the Triple Crown.