07/22/2006 12:00AM

Injury knocks Valenzuela from meet


DEL MAR, Calif. - Jockey Patrick Valenzuela will not ride at Del Mar this summer because of a back injury, according to his agent, Tom Knust.

Knust said that Valenzuela was advised on Friday that the back injury will require surgery and that he could be out from four to eight weeks. If that time frame proves correct, Valenzuela could return for the start of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Sept. 27.

"He'll probably have to have surgery," Knust said. "He won't be here at this meeting. They're going to run more tests on Monday or Tuesday."

Valenzuela, 43, has not ridden since July 16, the final day of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting. He finished second in the standings to Victor Espinoza during that meeting. Earlier this year, Valenzuela won the riding title at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

Valenzuela was excused from his mounts from Wednesday through Friday at Del Mar and was not named to ride over the weekend.

Knust said that during the time he is off, he is also likely to undergo treatment for a recurring knee problem.

Valenzuela, who has a history of substance abuse problems, underwent daily drug tests from Wednesday through Friday at his home by California Horse Racing Board investigators and passed each test, Knust said.

Spellbinder scratched with ailment

Spellbinder, the winner of the San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita in February, was scratched from Saturday's $300,000 San Diego Handicap after experiencing stomach cramps on Friday, trainer Richard Mandella said.

Mandella said the incident was not serious but would prevent Spellbinder from racing this weekend. He said the horse resumed racetrack training on Saturday.

"I didn't want to run him like that," Mandella said.

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Spellbinder, 5, has won 5 of 21 starts and $378,129. Mandella said that Spellbinder could return in another stakes at this meeting.

Garcia wins three, including stakes

Apprentice jockey Martin Garcia scored his first hat trick at Del Mar on Friday, a sequence of victories that included his first stakes win at the track, aboard C'est Mark in the $134,750 California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes.

C'est Mark rallied from fifth to finish a neck in front of 19-1 Won More Penny. Sharoana, the 2-1 favorite, finished third in the field of seven 2-year-old statebred fillies.

C'est Mark broke well, stalking a pace of 21.64 and 44.65 seconds set by Sharoana. Garcia brought C'est Mark around the pacesetters on the final turn but needed the entire stretch to get past Won More Penny and Sharoana, who faded in the final furlong.

"When she came running the stretch, she came running," Garcia said.

C'est Mark ($6) finished 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.46. Owned by Jose and Melissa Silva and trained by Jose Silva, C'est Mark has won 2 of 3 starts and $110,550. She beat statebred maidens by 8 1/4 lengths in her second start at Hollywood Park on June 4.

The victory was the first stakes win at Del Mar for Silva, who reformed a stable in 2005 after being away for racing for three years because of high worker's compensation insurance costs.

$100,000 claim to miss rest of meet

The first-time starter Onetimeatbandcamp was claimed for $100,000 by A and R Racing Stable and Class Racing Stable and trainer Eric Kruljac on Friday, but the 2-year-old colt will not start for the rest of the meeting.

Kruljac said Onetimeatbandcamp emerged from the race with sore shins and will be given the rest of the summer off.

"His shins are bothering him," he said. "We'll give him four or five weeks off. I was hoping that he would run better."

Kruljac said that he was approached about making the claim a few hours before Friday's fifth race.

"It was a last-minute thing," he said. "I said I'd look at him as if he was a yearling prospect. I liked the horse."

Onetimeatbandcamp, who was trained by Art Sherman, finished seventh as the 3-1 favorite in the 5 1/2-furlong race. He was third early and faded from contention in the final furlong.

"You have to throw the race out," Kruljac said. "I think there is a good upside to the horse. Hopefully, we have a nice horse for down the road."

Valdivia gets okay to ride

Jockey Jose Valdivia, Jr., who has been sidelined since June 25 because of a broken collarbone, has received clearance to resume riding, according to his agent, Michelle Barsotti.

Valdivia was scheduled to start working horses on Sunday and is expected to ride on Thursday, Barsotti said.

Brice to ride entire meet

Jockey Brice Blanc, who began his career in California in the mid-1990's, will ride the remainder of the Del Mar meeting, according to agent Steve Rieser. Blanc has been riding at Churchill Downs in recent years.

Blanc, who has not ridden regularly in California since 2002, is booked to ride Lock and Key in an optional claimer on Monday.