06/28/2013 6:02PM

Hollywood Park notes: Valenzuela eyes return at Del Mar

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Benoit & Associates
Pat Valenzuela has been inactive since November of last year.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Jockey Patrick Valenzuela said on Thursday that he hopes to return to riding this summer at Del Mar after an eight-month absence caused by knee problems.

Valenzuela said he plans to meet with a doctor on Friday, seeking clearance to resume exercising horses. He said he underwent surgery in March to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

“On July 5, I’ll find out if I can be released or not,” Valenzuela said at Betfair Hollywood Park. “I’m hoping.”

Valenzuela said he doubted he would be ready to ride for Del Mar’s opening day, July 17, but said he wants to ride most of the meeting, which continues through Sept. 4.

“Maybe not opening day, but I hope it won’t take me long to get the fitness I need,” he said.
Valenzuela, 50, has not ridden since Nov. 16, 2012. His last winner was Merit Man in the Tim Conway Stakes at Santa Anita last October.

Known for winning the 1989 Kentucky Derby on Sunday Silence but also battling substance abuse problems in his 35-year career, Valenzuela had 9 wins from 129 mounts in 2012. By comparison, he won 146 races from 933 mounts in 2010, and 113 races from 795 mounts in 2011. He has 4,342 wins lifetime and nearly $165 million in purse earnings.

Valenzuela was the regular rider of Acclamation, the champion older male of 2011.

Stewards meet with Tyler Baze

Jockey Tyler Baze is expected to learn in coming days the sanctions he faces for failing an alcohol test on June 13.

Baze, who has not ridden since June 9, met with Hollywood Park stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Tom Ward in a hearing on Thursday. The stewards had not issued a ruling on Baze’s case as of Friday morning, but may do so this weekend.

Baze faces a likely suspension for failing the alcohol test, a violation of the terms of a conditional license issued last September after the jockey missed more than a year of riding for failing to take a Breathalyzer test at Del Mar in September, 2011.

On June 13, Baze said in an interview that he had consumed beer on the preceding day while on a fishing trip with friends. He took responsibility for his actions, describing the situation as “pretty devastating.”

The winner of the Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding apprentice jockey of 2000, Baze was taken off his mounts at a time when he was in contention for leading rider at the current spring-summer meeting.

Under the terms of his conditional license, Baze is subject to frequent drug testing, must check in with racing board investigators on a daily basis, and is subject to random breath and urine tests.

Kerlan doesn’t fill

Sunday’s $70,000 Robert Kerlan Handicap for turf sprinters was canceled because of insufficient entries.

The race was scheduled for six furlongs on turf. One horse who had been pointed for the Kerlan for several weeks was Chips All In, the winner of the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita in April.

Chips All In is trained by Jeff Mullins, who expressed frustration on Thursday at the cancellation of the Kerlan. He considered the race a prep for the $90,000 Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar on July 24. Mullins said he was not sure what approach he would take to Chips All In’s summer campaign.

Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
It's a crying shame that Jockeys succumb to the use of illegal drugs and alcohol abuse, but going in, they know where the temptations may take them. Tyler Baze, in my opinion, one of the greatest natural talents ever to ride a race horse, is the perfect example of someone who has seen the devastation these drugs can do, in his own family and friends, and still can't find the internal strength to stay away from the poison fruit. PVal is the epitome of someone who has lost all right to pursue race riding. These guys, when under the influence of these mind altering drugs, are a menace to their fellow Jockeys and the horses in the races in which they ride. Pval should not have another chance and Tyler should be given a final chance, with no variances. That said, how dumb is he? With a ton of talent as a jockey, and the ability to make millions, he wants to be a salad chef!!!!!
ron More than 1 year ago
lots of us players miss you bad and we would like to keep it that way.
Don Sandri More than 1 year ago
They don't have 5-6 head to fill a grass stake going short?
B More than 1 year ago
Valenzuela is terrible for this sport. He has make a mockery of rules and regulations many times over. He should have been banned from this sport years ago. No one has ever gotten away with as much as he has. He is an embarrassment and so are those who keep allowing him to return.
michael More than 1 year ago
Baze doesn't need the friends he had on the fishing trip. Hang around the barber shop long enough and eventually you will get a hair cut.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Freedom of speech is a right we should never give up. But it seems "Jon" would like it abolished. PVal has a knee problem & is trying to make it better in order to ride. Not sure why there is any negativity here? He did nothing wrong except get injured. Give the man a break!
jon More than 1 year ago
Forgot to add to my last post, yes there are some very good regular posters here on this site, but, they are many negative or poster who have hate against another human that they do even know their character(like last week it was Garrett). Maybe DRF needs a moderator.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Yes, Jon, good idea. Let's bring in the IRS to regulate who gets to speak up.
jon More than 1 year ago
I try to avoid posting on this site and the main reason is that most of them appear to be losers who made a bad bet and were beaten by a better horse either ridden or trained by jocks or trainer and they grew to hate them, if one loses he/she should look to find the error or excuse a horse had to not win the race or they are simply kids. In the last few months it was Baffert and now PV. Yes PV had some problems like some others, but these jocks problems are multiplied by trying to maintain a weight of 115 lbs or lower(I remember once Dwayne Lucas has said that he sat next to Pincay on a flight and Pincay had used a fork and a knife to split a pea and a piece of peanut and that was going to be his dinner). Just imagine how bad it is if a jock consumes 1 beer (a light beer) on his day off. Can't a human being be allowed to do that? This is almost inhuman. This is why my main gripe with racing in the US is that they need to increase the weights a horse can carry (it would not hurt a strong 1000 lb animal to carry 10 lbs more like they do in Europe and if this carries on (because the size of humans is increasing) we will only see jockeys from Mex. or Central or South America and when they start to get too big maybe we will need to find Asian jockeys. Getting back to PV, he has served his time for whatever problem he had(and the good thing about it is he is not denier) and has come back well with some glimpse of the old PV we know & now he had physical problems & he has taken care of(which most of these posters would not be able to do anything at his current age) and the most important thing is the CHRB is allowing him to ride, now all he has to prove is to the trainers so that he can get some mounts so that he can prove all these hate posters her wrong.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
I try to avoid reading postings that are an encyclopedia of run-on sentences & hare-brained concepts about science.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not sure where all the negative for PVal comes from? His latest story Is health related ONLY. He had an ACL problem & is working on getting it good enough to ride. GO PVal! You can come back at Del Mar and still be one of the best!! I'm pulling for you! I just hope Garrett Gomez stays away its been great to see him GOne!
Jerseyjoe B More than 1 year ago
IMO most talented West Coast rider since Shoemaker, (Pincay, Stevens, Gomez notwithstanding).
thegailays More than 1 year ago
*NEWSFLASH* 50 year old Jockey wins the Belmont Stakes