10/19/2005 11:00PM

AWOL Valenzuela provides stewards with doctor's note

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Patrick Valenzuela provided Santa Anita stewards with documentation from a doctor on Thursday stating he could not ride through Sunday because of an ailing foot, according to stewards and Valenzuela's agent, Ron Ebanks.

Valenzuela was removed from his mounts prior to the first race on Wednesday when he did not appear at the track or contact the stewardsbefore the card began. According to the terms of his conditional license, Valenzuela must notify stewards if he does not appear to ride.

Valenzuela told the stewards Wednesday that he thought his agent, Ron Ebanks, had taken him off his mounts so he could see a doctor about his foot injury.

Valenzuela, whose career has been plagued by suspensions for substance abuse problems, might still face sanctions for not notifying the stewards of the injury before the start of Wednesday's card, according to Ebanks.

The stewards declined to comment on a potential sanction.

Ebanks blamed himself for not notifying the stewards of Valenzuela's absence on Wednesday, saying "it was a misunderstanding."

Valenzuela, 43, took off his mounts midway through the program last Sunday, complaining of a sore foot.

Valenzuela and Ebanks met with stewards John Herbuveaux, Kim Sawyer, and George Slender for approximately 30 minutes on Thursday morning to offer an explanation for the rider's absence. Valenzuela passed a urine "field test" for drugs that was conducted by California Horse Racing Board investigators on Thursday, according to a CHRB official. The CHRB later asked Valenzuela to return to Santa Anita to give another sample that would be sent to a laboratory for more extensive testing, the official said.

Under the terms of a conditional license Valenzuela must undergo random drug tests at the request of investigators or stewards. Prior to Thursday, Valenzuela was last tested on Oct. 7, according to a CHRB official.

Valenzuela is suffering from a sore tendon in a foot, Ebanks said. Ebanks said Valenzuela injured the foot while jogging on the racetrack before racing last week and complained of pain throughout the week.

"It was four days ahead of Sunday that I knew about it," Ebanks said, referring to the first day that Valenzuela missed. "The doctor advised against riding this weekend. We probably won't ride until Wednesday. His foot is not real good."

Ebanks said that Valenzuela has another doctor's appointment scheduled for Monday, and that the jockey expects to ride the Breeders' Cup program at Belmont Park on Oct. 29.

Valenzuela has four confirmed mounts for the Breeders' Cup - Starcraft (Classic), Hollywood Story (Distaff), Film Maker (Filly and Mare Turf), and Three Valleys (Mile), and may ride Ace (Turf), Ebanks said.

Jill's Sky to Cal Cup?

Jill's Sky might make a quick turnaround and run on California Cup Day Nov. 6 after winning an allowance race over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

Making her second start since a summer-long layoff, Jill's Sky led throughout, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over Element K. Owned by Toby Turrell and trained by Jenine Sahadi, Jill's Sky was timed in 1:49.91.

Sahadi said no plans have been made on whether Jill's Sky will start in the California Cup. One option is the $100,000 California Cup Distance Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/4 miles on turf, a distance that Jill's Sky has yet to try.

Sahadi said on Thursday that she was just relieved that Jill's Sky had scored her second win after a frustrating season. Jill's Sky, Sahadi said, has been plagued by a virus, poor weather, and difficulty in finding the right sort of races. "Nothing had gone right for her," she said.

The Tin Man on comeback trail

The Tin Man, fourth in the Breeders' Cup Turf in both 2003 and 2004, worked three furlongs in 39.20 seconds at Hollywood Park on Thursday, preparing for a comeback after a year missed because of injury.

Trained by Richard Mandella for Ralph and Aury Todd, The Tin Man, 7, has not started since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Handicap in October 2004.

"He's preparing for next year's Breeders' Cup," Mandella joked.

Thursday's workout was The Tin Man's second published workout since his return to training.

"I'm going to bring him over here in a couple of days," Mandella said from Santa Anita.

Unseated Jauregui is uninjured

Jockey Luis Jauregui had a rough start to Wednesday's card.

He was a late substitution for jockey Tyler Baze, who was unable to ride in the first race but rode later in the card. Jauregui picked up the mount on Pink Halo, who unseated Jauregui near the start after she ran into a temporary rail on the backstretch chute.

Jauregui hit the ground but rose quickly under his own power. "I'm a little sore but it's no big deal," he said.

* Sharp Lisa, who won the Santa Ynez and Las Virgenes Stakes this year, breezed a half-mile in 50.60 seconds at Hollywood Park on Thursday. Trained by Doug O'Neill, Sharp Lisa, 3, hasn't started since finishing fourth in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park in April.