09/26/2006 12:00AM

P. Val gets tentative approval to ride Thursday


ARCADIA, Calif. - Jockey Patrick Valenzuela was tentatively cleared to resume riding Thursday at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting after several weeks of discussions between his advisers and California Horse Racing Board officials concerning the rider's two-month absence earlier this year.

Valenzuela had hoped to ride on Wednesday, the opening day of the Oak Tree meeting, but was denied after CHRB officials said last weekend that they wanted to see medical documents explaining the reason for the jockey's absence. Valenzuela was unable to provide those documents on Sunday, when entries were taken for Wednesday's program.

"We have tentatively agreed to let Patrick Valenzuela accept mounts for Thursday, subject to the resolution of one issue, which we hope to resolve before Thursday," CHRB chairman Richard Shapiro said in a one-paragraph statement issued on Tuesday. CHRB officials would not identify the issue referred to in the statement.

Valenzuela, who has a history of substance abuse problems, has not ridden in California since July 16, the final day of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting. He did not ride during the Del Mar meeting, spending part of that seven-week meeting at a Pasadena hospital that specializes in treatment for substance abuse and mental health problems.

Valenzuela, his agent, Tom Knust, and his attorney, Neil Papiano, have declined repeated requests to discuss the circumstances of the rider's absence.

"All I know is they needed certain stuff," Knust said of the documents. "Hopefully, they're satisfied with what they've got."

He did not elaborate on what kind of documents were provided.

Valenzuela, 43, underwent several drug tests in recent weeks, all of which were negative, according to Papiano. Valenzuela has been riding under a provisional license, renewed annually, since 2001 that allows the CHRB to drug test him at any time.

"We've done what they've asked," Papiano said. "We've taken tests and they've been negative. Anything they want, he will do and we've done it. I have not been informed of any reason for him to be prohibited" from riding.

Valenzuela has ridden one race since mid-July, winning the Woodbine Mile aboard Becrux on Sept.o17. Valenzuela was allowed to ride in Canada because no rulings have been issued against him in California, CHRB officials said last week. He was given permission to exercise horses in California after meeting with Del Mar stewards in early September.

Pivotal race for Dancing Edie

Dancing Edie ran the best race of her career when she won the Grade 1 John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar on July 22. She will need to be equally as good to win Saturday's $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita.

The race will determine Dancing Edie's schedule for the fall. A win, or a narrow loss, could propel Dancing Edie into the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4, trainer Craig Dollase said. A loss could send her back into shorter stakes for fillies and mares on turf in coming months.

"I think we need a top three finish" to go to the Breeders' Cup, Dollase said.

Dancing Edie's chances in the Yellow Ribbon may hinge on the pace. If she can make an easy lead, like she did in the Mabee Handicap, she could be tough to catch. But she could face early pressure from Live Life, who set the pace in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park in August before fading to finish third.

The distance will be a test, but Santa Anita's turf course can be favorable to horses trying longer trips for the first time. The first furlong of races at 1 1/4 miles or longer on turf is run downhill.

"The mile and a quarter is uncharted territory, but I don't think she'll have a problem handling it," Dollase said.

Owned by a partnership led by Paul Reddam, Dancing Edie has not started since the Mabee Handicap. Tuesday at Hollywood Park, she worked a half-mile in 48.80 seconds on the track's new synthetic surface. The time was the fifth-fastest of 31 recorded workouts.

Dollase said that the new surface at Hollywood Park forces horses to exert more energy in workouts.

"They seem to have to work at it," he said. "I've noticed that a lot of my turf horses have taken to this track."

Dancing Edie is one of eight probable starters for the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon, one of four major stakes at Santa Anita this weekend. The other probable starters are Bond Deal, Candy Factory, Live Life, Memorette, Singalong, Three Degrees, and Wait a While.

Valenzuela has been booked to ride Live Life.

He also rides Artiste Royale in the $250,000 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at 1 1/4 miles on turf. The race is led by The Tin Man, the winner of the Arlington Million at Arlington Park in August. Other probable starters for the Hirsch are Don Incauto, Fantastic Spain, Quinquin the King, and T.H. Approval.

Valenzuela does not have a mount in Sunday's $250,000 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap, according to Knust.

Cash Included debuts for Dollase

Dollase will start Cash Included in Saturday's $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for 2-year-old fillies.

The filly was recently acquired by Reddam and turned over to Dollase in mid-September. She was previously owned by a partnership and trained by Howard Zucker.

Cash Included won a six-furlong maiden race at Del Mar on Sept. 2 in her second start.

"We'll take a shot," Dollase said of starting in the Oak Leaf.

Cash Included will be tested in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf. The field is led by Point Ashley, the winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Sept.o4. Other probable starters are Back in the Shade, Outofthepast, Pinata, and Shes Got Skills.

Hollywood adds chute for turf sprints

Hollywood Park has completed installation of a six-furlong chute for its turf course, an addition that should be ready for use in early November, according to racing secretary Martin Panza.

The track previously ran turf sprints at five and 5 1/2 furlongs. The new six-furlong chute begins on the infield, nearest to the first turn, and joins the main turf course on the backstretch.

The installation of the sod for the chute was completed on Sept. 19, Panza said. He said the track may run five-furlong turf races in the first week of the fall meeting to allow the chute to have additional time for growth. Hollywood Park's fall meeting begins on Nov. 1.