Kent Desormeaux is coming back to Pimlico Race Course.
The king of the Maryland jockey colony before moving to the richer California circuit, Desormeaux will probably ride here all this week, according to his agent, Gene Short.
Short reported yesterday that his client flew in from New York last night after riding In Excess in the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct and will give Best Pal his final tuneup for the Pimlico Special this morning, subject to weather conditions.
"He's on a couple [of horses] Sunday and I think he may come out with quite a few Tuesday," Short said of Desormeaux. "I would say the prospects of him staying here all week are 80-20."
The reasons are turmoil at Hollywood Park, Desormeaux' regular venue. Racing is at a standstill there because of rioting in the area in reaction to the Rodney King verdict and a boycott of the entry box by horsemen that may last all week.
"Kent is chasing [Chris] McCarron and [Pat] Valenzuela for the money [jockey earnings]," said Short, "and working here will help him keep pace. Right now, we're planning on it."
The last word from trainer Gary Jones is that Best Pal would engage in his final serious drill for the Special tomorrow or Tuesday, so that plan could hold if Desormeaux is going to stay in the area.
* Rainbows for Life, the 4-to-5 favorite, steered clear of trouble and came from off the pace to win the $75,000 Riggs Handicap on the turf yesterday.
The margin in the 1 1/16-mile test between grass specialists was a head over Futurist, who was making his first start since winning the Lamplighter at Monmouth July 4.
David Penna, who rode the winner, said "the horses on the side and in front of me were getting knocked around" as he tried to gain ground.
"But I wasn't worried. The trip I got was actually quite good," Penna said. "This horse knows how to win. He probably had an excuse for every grass race he hasn't won."
Rainbows for Life is 8-for-13 on the turf.
Futurist, the second choice in the betting, stalked the pace under Rick Wilson, but according to the jockey, didn't have the same fortune.
"A horse in front of me was getting out and opened a path for the winner. He won't beat me next time," said Wilson. Makin Money held on for third.
* Lil E. Tee and Casual Lies, the 1-2 finishers in the Kentucky Derby, were even longer shots at Pimlico than at Churchill Downs.
They combined for an $1,878.40 exacta payoff in Maryland and Lil E. Tee paid $66.20 to win, both almost twice as high as in Kentucky.
The handle here on the Derby at Pimlico and the Laurel simulcast totaled $808,951. Overall, the handle at the two sites was $3,555,605, almost equal to last year's total.
NOTES: Today's feature is the $40,000 added Miss Preakness Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs with the Fort Marcy Handicap from Aqueduct the simulcast. . . . Pimlico Special handicap plates will be given to the first 6,000 patrons today. . . . Gregg McCarron was thrown from his mount, Voyage Sixty, who stumbled at the start in the sixth race. McCarron walked away from the incident.