05/13/2012 6:13PM

Hollywood Park: Valenzuela picks up first win since launching comeback


INGLEWOOD, Calif.- Jockey Patrick Valenzuela had his first win since ending a four-month retirement last month in Sunday’s seventh race at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Valenzuela, 49, rode favored Langfurs Lightning to a three-quarter length win over King’s Red Journey in a maiden claimer over 7 1/2 furlongs. Langfurs Lightning ($5.40) was Valenzuela’s 25th mount since returning to riding on April 26, at the start of the current spring-summer meeting.

“I feel like I’ve got a monkey off my back,” Valenzuela said after he left the winner’s circle.

Valenzuela has won 4,334 races in his career. He announced his retirement last December, citing a gall bladder surgery in November and battle with sore knees. In early April, he reversed the decision, saying he wanted to return to riding.

Langfurs Lightning was his third, and final mount, on Hollywood’s nine-race program on Sunday. Valenzuela had Langfurs Lightning on the lead on the rail throughout, and put away a threat from King’s Red Journey in the final sixteenth.

After he crossed the wire, Valenzuela celebrated the win with two right-handed fist pumps.

In his comeback, Valenzuela has struggled to attract business. Racing resumes at Hollywood Park on Thursday. Valenzuela has three mounts on the eight-race program. He does not have any mounts on Friday evening’s eight-race card.