02/07/2008 1:00AM

Valenzuela alters schedule


Jockey Patrick Valenzuela's Fair Grounds debut has been pushed back to next week, his new agent, Danny Gargan, confirmed on Thursday.

Valenzuela had been named on horses for Friday and Saturday's cards at Fair Grounds, but will not accept those mounts, Gargan said.

"He's not going to be able to get here in time," Gargan said. "He's got some things to tie up before he comes. He'll get into town on Sunday, and start breezing horses during the week and get fit."

Gargan said it was unlikely Valenzuela will ride on Thursday's card, but that he would probably be ready to go next weekend.

No matter what its cause, the delay casts further clouds on an already delicate situation. Valenzuela lost his conditional license to ride in California on Dec. 28 after being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Because Valenzuela possesses a Louisiana jockey's license obtained so he could ride at Delta Downs on Dec. 7, and that license remains in good standing, Louisiana racing officials had no legal grounds to deny Valenzuela a chance to ride at Fair Grounds, since there was no ruling against him in California.

Still, Valenzuela must meet with Fair Grounds stewards before he can begin riding here. Fair Grounds jockeys are subject to random drug tests and daily breathalyzers.