11/14/2007 12:00AM

Imagine injured, apt to retire

EmailShirreffs did not specify the injury, which was detected after Imagine returned to training following a victory in the California Cup Distance Handicap at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Nov. 3.

Owned by Marty Wygod and John Spohler, Imagine, 4, won 5 of 9 starts and $267,059. She was expected to start in graded stakes for fillies and mares on turf next year before the injury was detected.

"It's so disappointing," Shirreffs said. "We'll probably retire her. We didn't notice it until she went back to the track."

Earlier this year, Imagine won the TOC and CTT Handicap at 1o3/8omiles on turf at Del Mar.

Imagine is a rare California-bred by top stallion Giant's Causeway. She was bred by Wygod and Spohler, who campaigned Imagine's dam, Smooth Player.

Smooth Player, 11, won 8 of 19 starts and $760,496. She won five stakes, including the Grade 2 Las Palmas Handicap and Grade 2 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap in 2000.

Valenzuela to ride here Saturday

Patrick Valenzuela, who has not ridden in California in nearly a year, is booked on two mounts on Saturday's nine-race program at Hollywood Park.

Earlier this week, Valenzuela agreed to the terms of a conditional license issued by the California Horse Racing Board, according to his agent, Tom Knust.

Valenzuela, 45, resumed riding at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M., on Nov. 3 and won with 3 of 19 mounts at that track. He returned to Southern California earlier this week.

The conditional license allows the racing board to conduct random drug testing on Valenzuela, who has had a history of substance abuse problems in a career highlighted by a win in the 1989 Kentucky Derby aboard Sunday Silence. Valenzuela has ridden under a conditional license in recent years.

Valenzuela's latest absence has been caused by injury. He suffered a rib injury when kicked in the paddock at Hollywood Park on Thanksgiving weekend of 2006 and later underwent knee surgery. Valenzuela had hoped to return to riding earlier this year, but was delayed because of lingering knee soreness.

On Saturday, Valenzuela will ride Caddymaster in the seventh race and Obrigado in the eighth.

Knust said that mounts have been difficult to find for Valenzuela since the current Hollywood Park condition book, which lists the upcoming races, was published nearly a month ago, allowing other jockeys to secure mounts.

"It's hard to get a lot of horses that are available," he said.

Valenzuela was scheduled to begin exercising horses in California on Thursday, Knust said. As of Wednesday, Valenzuela did not have any mounts for Hollywood Park's six-race Autumn Turf Festival Nov. 23-25, Knust said.

Motion sends eight to Hollywood Park

Maryland-based trainer Graham Motion is sending an eight-horse stable to California for the winter, and will have his first starters next week at Hollywood Park, he said on Wednesday.

Motion has supplemented Independent George to the $400,000 Citation Handicap at 1o1/16 miles on turf on Nov. 23 at a cost of $8,000. Independent George ran fourth in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 6.

Motion said Wednesday that his California division will include Kona Blend, the third-place finisher in the Fayette Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 27; Globetrotter, the winner of the Grey Breeders' Cup Stakes at Woodbine on Oct. 8; and Jade's Revenge, the winner of the Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland last April.

Those three have synthetic track experience, a major factor in sending them to California, which also has synthetic tracks.

"I've had some horses win pretty nicely at Keeneland" on a synthetic track, Motion said. "There really isn't a good option on the East Coast. It makes sense to go in that route. It's a new adventure for us and we're looking forward to it."

Independent George won his first stakes in the Presque Isle Downs Mile in Pennsylvania on Sept. 15, and made his graded stakes debut in the Shadwell Mile. Motion said that Corey Nakatani would ride Independent George in the Citation. Nakatani was aboard in the Shadwell Mile.

"Corey was very pleased with his race that day and felt that he was compromised by his trip," Motion said. "Although he's been fighting to get through his conditions, his numbers have been consistent with the good horses. I think he proved that he belongs."

Also expected in the Grade 1 Citation are Palace Episode, Visa Parade, and Willow O Wisp.

Vacare works; Matriarch next

Vacare, the winner of the Grade 2 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland last month, worked a half-mile in 47.60 seconds at Hollywood Park on Wednesday, preparing for the $500,000 Matriarch Stakes on Nov. 25.

Owned by Jon and Sarah Kelly and trained by Christophe Clement, Vacare has won three stakes, including the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup and Pucker Up Stakes in 2006.

The Grade 1 Matriarch is expected to draw a strong field, including Black Mamba, Dance Away Capote, Lady of Venice, Naissance Royale, Precious Kitten, and Wait a While, and possibly Dancing Edie and Maribel.

Naissance Royale, the winner of the Grade 2 Las Palmas Handicap at Santa Anita on Nov. 4, was supplemented for $10,000 on Wednesday, according to Hollywood Park racing officials. She is trained by Clement.

Jara booked to ride Saturday

Fernando Jara, who suffered a bruised shoulder in a two-horse spill on Sunday, is scheduled to return on Saturday, pending a visit with the doctor, according to his agent, Bob Meldahl.

Jara is booked to ride Ava D in a seven-furlong maiden claimer in Saturday's ninth race.

Jara was briefly hospitalized for X-rays on Sunday after his mount clipped heels with a rival in early stretch of the sixth race. He was scheduled to see Dr. James Tibone for a check-up on Thursday, Meldahl said.

"He's just sore," Meldahl said. "We'll evaluate the situation. The hospital said there were no breaks."