09/28/2006 11:00PM

Valenzuela 1 for 3 in return


Jockey Patrick Valenzuela rode one winner from three mounts at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting Thursday, his first mounts in California following a two-month absence in which he spent part of the time hospitalized for undisclosed reasons.

The program was the first time that Valenzuela had ridden in California since the end of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting in July. He sought to return in early September, but that was delayed while discussions took place between the California Horse Racing Board and Valenzuela's advisors about the terms of his return.

Valenzuela won with his first ride Thursday, Glamour Cat ($4.20) in the third race. He later finished fifth aboard Awesome Broad in the fifth race and finished second by a neck on Lord Macho in the sixth race.

Valenzuela had little to say when approached after the sixth race. When asked how he felt after his first day of riding, Valenzuela responded, "How do I look?"

Earlier in the afternoon, in an interview that aired on TVG, Valenzuela said, "The horsemen have been very gracious and supportive. I'm pretty fit."

Valenzuela, 43, was allowed to resume riding after information surrounding his hospitalization in August was submitted to the CHRB earlier this week. Neither Valenzuela, his attorney, Neil Papiano, his agent, Tom Knust, nor CHRB chairman Richard Shapiro has identified the information that Valenzuela was asked to divulge.

Valenzuela wanted to ride on Wednesday's opening day of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting, but failed to submit the information sought by the CHRB on time, Papiano said last weekend.

The information was provided to the CHRB on Thursday, according to Shapiro. "I received the final piece of information I was seeking from Patrick Valenzuela and it is satisfactory," he said in a statement released Thursday. "Therefore I have no objection to his riding."

Valenzuela 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. He rode Becrux to victory in the Woodbine Mile on Sept. 17, his only mount in two months before Thursday.

Valenzuela 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.

Break's over for McCann's Mojave

McCann's Mojave, the winner of the 2005 California Cup Classic, makes his first start in more than six months in Sunday's $55,000 Blue Jay Way Stakes on the hillside turf course.

Co-owner Mike Willman, Santa Anita's director of publicity, said he is hoping to use the Blue Jay Way as a prep to a California Cup race for McCann's Mojave.

"He's carrying a little flesh, and I like that he's carrying a little flesh," Willman said. "I think the time off helped him. He had a problem with a hind foot."

A 6-year-old trained by Paddy Gallagher, McCann's Mojave won the 2004 Sensational Star Handicap on the hillside turf course.

The Blue Jay Way, a restricted stakes, has several runners capable of winning. Richebourg, who drew the rail, has won twice on the course. Deputy Kris won turf sprints at Hollywood Park and Del Mar during the summer.

Prime Ruler rebounds with win

Prime Ruler, last at 2-1 in the Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 6, won a six-furlong optional claimer at Santa Anita on Thursday, and trainer Christopher Paasch said he will run in the $65,000 Sunny Slope Stakes over six furlongs on Oct. 22.

Paasch said that Prime Ruler would not start around two turns until the Hollywood Park fall meeting, at the earliest.

In Thursday's race, Prime Ruler disputed the lead throughout under jockey Alex Solis and pulled away in the final furlong to win by 4 1/2 lengths over Mr. Negotiator, finishing in 1:10.21.

Baffert works two on Cushion Track

Two graded-stakes-winning sprinters stabled at Santa Anita - Behaving Badly and Too Much Bling - vanned to Hollywood Park for workouts Friday on the new Cushion Track.

Trainer Bob Baffert said the main purpose of the work was to see how Behaving Badly would handle a synthetic surface. Baffert is considering sending her to Keeneland for the Grade 3 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes on Oct. 14 on that track's new artificial surface.

Victor Espinoza worked both horses. Baffert said Espinoza told him Behaving Badly "felt better" at Hollywood than she normally feels at Santa Anita, and that Too Much Bling felt the same. Both horses posted the fastest times of the morning - Behaving Badly worked five furlongs in 59.80; Too Much Bling worked a half-mile in 47.40.

Too Much Bling is among the leading hopefuls for the BC Sprint and could train up to the race, Baffert said.

- additional reporting by Brad Free