05/11/2012 4:43PM

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.

 

Troy Hull More than 1 year ago
P. Val can and will win races, like all the good jocks he still needs the horse and some luck!!
peter More than 1 year ago
Wow, messed up. He never talks about his sobriety. Sick and dangerous. He should be bragging about his sobriety. He was on the pipe for 4 months and ran out of money .And is still STRIVING to improve his diet????? His current record show's us where he's @@@@@@@@@@ in life...........
Dawood K More than 1 year ago
So what if P Val was on the pipe ? Shoe was a boozer all his life, he crashed his explorer on the 210, while his drinking buddy Donald Pierce went home without an incident. Dellahousie was drunk, so was Mcarron, Stevens, Chris Antley died with crack, the greatest apprentice rider from the early 70's Steve Valdez was on the bottle, Man, there are tons of jocks, trainers, owners, horse players, you name em, they were all on some thing or the other, Laffite loved fine white skinned women. I knew both of them, and the kids. Usually when one gets famous in life there is no stopping for them. They usually hit a wall at high speed. It could be anything from booze, drugs or p***y.
Diane Henkel More than 1 year ago
This is not a debate about whether or not he is a good jockey. He is. This is about a man who has repeatedly been given second chances, last chances, and continues to go back to drugs. It is time to say enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What is it, specifically, that you believe this rider does that separates him from the ordinary riders?
Dawood K More than 1 year ago
I've known Pat since the early 70's when he used to come to the track with his race track hang out family. When he rode as a bug boy, nobody could catch him. Charlie, Lukas, Mellerick, Hal King, Frankel, Villagomez, Gary Jones, Pratt, to name just a few from the list, would use him on a speed horse, or a horse without any speed with blikers on. I am telling you this fellow could go wire to wire on anything, one turn, two turn, any turn, man he was gone. I've cashed many a $20 win bets on those longshots he rode. Those were my good ol days from the track. He also faked his age when he started to ride. I thought Steve Cauthen was too young to ride at the age of 16. Pat was only 15 1/2, he blew the field away. He left all the great jocks in his wake, namely, Shoe, Steve Valdez, Francisco Mena, Rudy Rosales, Campas, Baltazar, Castaneda, Alvarez, even Pincay. Yes sir, crack or cocaine can f**k up anybody once your into it. One like him will go the distance all way to the outer reaches of its high, on the cost of loosing family, friends, integrity and the horses he loved most. I remember once early morning, I was the only one parked in the middle of the parking lot facing hunttington blvd behind the jocks room at santa anita reading my $1.50 racing form. I noticed cars revving up and burning up smoke through my rear view and the side view mirror. The began their run right from the jocks room entrance to the track all the way up to the hunttington blvd fence. In 5seconds they were gone. A few moments later the same cars coasted back together to the jocks room. I was so curious I fired up my taxi cab and drove right behind them to see who these guys were. To my amaze it was Kenny Black and P Val in two identical Porsche Turbo's. My jaw dropped. That was it.
AssKsser More than 1 year ago
great to reminiscing about P Vals juvenile delinquent behavior -- really useful in formation. Bottom line, there is some who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves, there are such unfortunates. P Val is an unfortunate. I'm not surprised he's riding again, I'm surprised he's still alive.
David Robinson More than 1 year ago
god im so sick of mary do gooders always saying we need to support him with prayers. he deserves none of that. p. val. is one of the 5 best jockeys i have ever seen ride. and reguardless of what some are saying on here, he still has that talent. 21 races does not make a comeback. and even though he retired, as recently as 6 months ago he was still riding and winning at a top 5 clip on this circuit, even with bad knees. he can still outride most jockeys here. but so what? he has embarrassed himself and this sport way to many times to deserve the chances he has had. pat v., steve howe, dexter manley, etc.. where does it stop? just go away. your not wanted here anymore.
B More than 1 year ago
Will this detriment to racing ever go away?!?!? He's talented, but a complete embarrassment to the sport with the incredible amount of things he has gotten away with, but perhaps that says more about others than him.
Diane Henkel More than 1 year ago
The problem with PVal at the racetrack is that is where he used drugs. Plus probably other places too. When an addict is trying to get or stay clean, they are told to stay away from the people and environments they frequented while using. I find it hard to believe any sponser would agree with his returning to the same environment where he was unable to stay clean. I hope PVal can stay clean. But he isn't going to do it at the racetrack. The above article says he has to lose weight. And what is the easiest way to lose weight? Sometimes you just have to walk away, even from a sport you love.
Peter Ayinger More than 1 year ago
Sounds like someone bet on Union Rags. Eat some more chalk!! I am sure the crowded 20 horse field compromised his chances more than a lack luster ride.
HILLBILLY More than 1 year ago
Keep going Pval. We are all behind you ! Best gate jockey I have ever seen !
AssKsser More than 1 year ago
P. Val best crack head out of the gate.
AssKsser More than 1 year ago
that I've ever seen.