11/18/2011 12:50PM

Hollywood: Valenzuela due back Nov. 26

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Benoit & Associates
Patrick Valenzuela celebrates his victory aboard Acclamation in the Pacific Classic.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who did not ride his assigned mounts at Hollywood Park on Thursday after failing to contact racing officials or his agent, will not resume riding until Nov. 26 at the earliest to deal with personal matters related to his fiancée, his agent, Tom Knust, said on Friday.

Valenzuela was scheduled to travel Friday to Kansas City, where his fiancée’s family lives, Knust said. He did not specify why the 49-year-old jockey was making the trip. Knust said that Valenzuela had originally intended to fly to Kansas City after the Hollywood Park races on Sunday night and stay there until Friday, Nov. 25, returning to Hollywood Park on Nov. 26. Knust said that recent events led Valenzuela and his fiancée to push forward their departure.

“He said it’s a personal thing,” Knust said. “He said he knows he should have called the stewards. He said this took precedence. They left early.”

When the jockey does return to Hollywood Park, he must undergo a drug and alcohol test before meeting with track stewards. Valenzuela could face a sanction for his absence on Thursday, according to steward Tom Ward. Fines for failing to fulfill riding engagements generally range from $200 to $500. Suspensions are rare.

Knust said on Friday that Valenzuela is willing to take a drug test.

“He knows he will have to test,” Knust said. “He said that’s not a problem.”

Valenzuela is the senior member of the jockeys’ room and has been a fixture among the top 10 riders in the Southern California circuit this year. At the recently concluded Santa Anita Autumn meeting, Valenzuela finished in a tie for fifth in the standings. His biggest win this year came in the $1 million Pacific Classic aboard Acclamation at Del Mar in August.

Valenzuela has ridden in Southern California since July 2010 after receiving a license through a stipulated agreement with the California Horse Racing Board that called for several forms of drug and alcohol testing. At the time, the racing board described the agreement as “unprecedented due to its continual nature and strict conditions.”

More recently, Valenzuela has not been as extensively tested. Ward said that Valenzuela’s last drug test was conducted at Del Mar. “We have been testing him for cause and he hasn’t given us any,” he said.

Ward said that Valenzuela will be instructed to take such a test when he returns, and before he meets with track stewards.Valenzuela rode in Louisiana and New Mexico from 2008 to 2010 when he was unable to secure a license in California. Valenzuela is well known for winning the 1989 Kentucky Derby on Sunday Silence.