05/11/2012 5:43PM

Hollywood Park: Valenzuela's comeback off slowly

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Benoit & Associates
Patrick Valenzuela was winless in his first 21 mounts of the Betfair Hollywood Park meet.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Jockey Patrick Valenzuela is still seeking his first win of the spring-summer meeting at Betfair Hollywood Park, two weeks after the 49-year-old rider ended a four-month retirement.

Through Thursday, Valenzuela was winless with 21 mounts, including one second-place finish and three thirds. Mounts have been scarce, too.

Thursday, Valenzuela had one ride, finishing fifth on Warren’s Kong in the fourth race on an eight-race card.

Sunday, Valenzuela, 49, has three mounts on a nine-race program.

Thursday, he insisted that the slow start is not a surprise. He expects to be more competitive in coming weeks.

“My weight isn’t where I want it,” he said. “It will get there. I think in a month I’ll be back in the swing of things. I hadn’t done anything in the last four months.”

Valenzuela said he is currently riding at 122 pounds. “I’d like to get to 118,” he said. “I think I can.”

The senior member of the jockey’s room, Valenzuela said he was working with a trainer on physical fitness, and striving to improve his diet.

He said he has no discomfort in his knees, which caused him problems in the past.

Valenzuela has won 4,333 races. He announced last December that he was retiring, citing the condition of his knees and a recent gall bladder surgery as the reasons. He changed his mind in early April, and resumed working horses in advance of a return at the current Hollywood Park meeting.