03/11/2014 3:58PM

Santa Anita: Valenzuela wants to become exercise rider

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Benoit & Associates
Jockey Patrick Valenzuela has won 4,347 career races.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who has not ridden since late January and was suspended Feb. 7 for failing to meet with track stewards, met with the same board of stewards Sunday, seeking an exercise rider’s license.

Valenzuela told Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Tom Ward that he no longer plans to ride but would like to stay involved in Southern California racing. He said he would like to work as an exercise rider or as a television commentator and has a long-term interest in training.

“I’m not going to ride,” he said. “I’d like to get a license and be able to work in the industry.”

The stewards did not give Valenzuela an exercise rider’s license at Sunday’s 15-minute hearing but said they would take the case under advisement. Valenzuela was informed that he would face a fine for his absence from riding at Santa Anita on Jan. 24-25.

The 51-year-old Valenzuela has a history of substance-abuse and personal issues that plagued his career. He is best known for winning the 1989 Kentucky Derby on Sunday Silence. Valenzuela has won 4,347 races but was winless with 20 mounts in the first month of the current meeting, which began Dec. 26.

At Sunday’s hearing, Valenzuela took responsibility for his absence in late January, saying that he overslept Jan. 24 and was “too embarrassed” to call the stewards the following day. He said he is undergoing financial difficulties and needs employment.