09/04/2016 3:43PM

Ruidoso: Valenzuela wins Quarter Horse race


Jockey Patrick Valenzuela won with his first mount since February on Sunday at Ruidoso Downs, where he picked up a Quarter Horse mount in the first race. Valenzuela also was scheduled to ride in a trio of Thoroughbred races later on the card, in the fifth, eighth, and 10th races.

Valenzuela, 53, guided Linda Tee Fire ($6) to a 4 1/2-length win in the 870-yard claiming sprint. The horse is owned by a partnership that includes Mark Allen and Leonard Blach, who raced 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. Valenzuela had last ridden at Fair Grounds.

“It felt really good,” Valenzuela told Ruidoso officials Sunday. “I’ve been working a lot of horses at Santa Anita and riding the bike 20 miles a day.”

Valenzuela, a winner of more than 4,300 races who captured the 1989 Kentucky Derby aboard Sunday Silence, had been sidelined with a hand injury. Earlier this year he sought a jockey’s license in California, but the California Horse Racing Board in July announced it had denied his request “for now” on the recommendation of a hearing officer who cited multiple “major rule violations” since 2000. Valenzuela can reapply in a year, and holds a valid exercise rider’s license in California.

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Valenzuela recently received a jockey’s license in New Mexico “with stipulations,” according to a steward at Ruidoso. The steward would not reveal the stipulations, but a press release from Ruidoso stated the rider is subject to drug testing at any time.

Valenzuela has won seven Breeders’ Cup races from 1991-2012, according to the release from Ruidoso. The win in the Quarter Horse race was his second aboard the breed from six such mounts, according to statistics from Daily Racing Form.