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Patrick Valenzuela Suspended Again

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela in happier times after winning the 2003 Breeders' Cup Distaff on Adoration. He also won riding titles at all five major race meetings in Southern California last year.
Date: 01/25/04

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela has been suspended indefinitely by Santa Anita stewards for failing to appear for a mandatory drug test. Valenzuela, whose career has been marred by eight previous suspensions because of recurring drug problems, was issued a one-year license in December 2001 which has been renewed yearly, most recently last month. This license is subject to twelve conditions including drug and alcohol tests at least eight times per month and reporting to the California Horse Racing Board before each racing day. On Thursday he had called the stewards, reporting an ankle injury and that he would not be able to ride that day. A steward at Santa Anita told him to report for testing, which he agreed to do but then failed to appear. Attempts to reach him thereafter have failed, so the stewards issued the suspension pending a hearing with the board. The incident caps off a bizarre week during which time he fired agent Nick Cosato, who had been his agent for the last two years, and hired retired jockey Corey Black to replace him.

Steward Ingrid Fermin said, "He called in yesterday right about at the first race and said he's sprained his ankle. He asked if we wanted him to come in and test, which we did, and he said he'd be in. He never showed up. Corey Black contacted us this morning and asked if we'd heard from him because he hadn't heard from him either. The window of opportunity to test closed [Thursday] at 4:30. He's not under our jurisdiction anymore." Steward Tom Ward said on Friday, "We've left messages yesterday afternoon, and the board left messages yesterday afternoon and today. We've heard nothing. We were hoping to hear from him, no question about that. It's an extremely sad situation."

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