05/20/2012 4:00PM

Hollywood Park: Valenzuela puts comeback on hold until he can lose weight

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Benoit & Associates
Patrick Valenzuela says he currently weighs 126 pounds and must start eating better to reduce enough to be able to ride horses without carrying excess weight.

INGLEWOOD, Calif.- An ongoing battle with weight will keep Patrick Valenzuela from riding in the near future, the jockey said on Sunday.

Valenzuela took off his lone mount on Sunday and said later in the day that he is struggling to control his weight.

“I can’t get my weight off,” Valenzuela said in a phone interview. “I’m 126 [pounds]. It is tough and it’s tougher than I thought.

“I ran this morning and I got to 126. I was 129. Until I’m get my weight down I’m not going to name on horses. It’s not fair to horsemen.”

Valenzuela is not named to ride on eight-race programs at Hollywood Park on Thursday or Friday.

Valenzuela ended a five-month retirement last month at the start of the current spring-summer meeting. Last December, Valenzuela announced his retirement, citing a gall bladder surgery in November and lingering soreness in his knees.

Valenzuela, who won the 1989 Kentucky Derby on Sunday Silence, has won 4,334 races in a career that has been plagued by interruptions for substance abuse problems in the past.

His comeback has not produced expected results. Through Saturday, he had 1 win in 26 starts at Hollywood Park. Valenzuela did not ride on Thursday, citing food poisoning. He did not have any mounts on Friday evening.

Saturday, he had one mount, finishing second on Playful Council in a maiden race for 2-year-olds. He was listed at 122 pounds for that mount.

Valenzuela’s lone win at the meeting occurred on May 13. After that win, he said a slow start at the meeting was not a surprise and that he expected results to turn in his favor after a few more weeks of racing.

At the time, Valenzuela said he was struggling to get his riding weight below 122 pounds. Sunday, he said the issue remains a concern, but blamed himself.

“I want to try to eat right,” he said. “I’ve not been eating right and it’s horrible.”