01/06/2013 6:10PM

Santa Anita: Valenzuela facing knee surgery

Email
Benoit & Associates
Patrick Valenzuela says he's hopeful of being ready to resume riding in late February following knee surgery.

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who has not ridden since Nov. 16 at Betfair Hollywood Park after complaining of knee pain, is scheduled to undergo knee surgery this week, he said on Sunday.

Valenzuela, 50, hoped to have the operation in December, but said that it was delayed while he waited for approval from an insurance company. He is hoping to return to racing in late February.

“I finally got the okay to get the surgery on Friday,” he said. “I hope to be back by the end of the February. They have to go in there and see what’s going on.”

In the autumn, Valenzuela said his knee had been causing him difficulty since the Del Mar meeting last summer. Valenzuela ended a six-month retirement in May. In 2012, he won 9 races from 129 mounts.

Two of the wins came in Grade 1 races on Acclamation – the Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park and the Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar.

More recently, he said he has been limited to watching races on television.

“I’m ready to get back,” he said. “I have been watching too many races on the couch.”