07/20/2016 4:32PM

Valenzuela denied jockey’s license by California Horse Racing Board

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Barbara D. Livingston
Patrick Valenzuela has been denied a jockey's license by the California Horse Racing Board.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Jockey Patrick Valenzuela has been denied a jockey’s license by the California Horse Racing Board, ending a months-long quest to resume his troubled career on the West Coast.

Wednesday, the racing board announced that it had adopted the recommendation of hearing officer Patrick Kane who proposed Valenzuela be denied a license for repeated violations for substance-abuse issues in his career. Kane recommended that Valenzuela reapply for a license in a year and that he undergo drug and alcohol testing on a weekly basis in the interim.

Valenzuela has an active exercise rider’s license and will be permitted to continue working in that capacity. In a brief phone conversation Wednesday afternoon, Valenzuela did not comment on the racing board’s decision. He sought a license to ride at the current Del Mar summer meeting, which began last Friday.

Valenzuela, who has not ridden since February in Louisiana, was denied a request for a jockey’s license by the racing board in March. He appealed the decision, resulting in a hearing with Kane in April. The racing board reached its decision in an executive session July 14 at Del Mar after reviewing Kane’s proposed decision.

The racing board had the option of accepting, rejecting, or modifying Kane’s proposal, which was presented to the board in late June.

According to a one-page statement released by the racing board, Kane’s proposed decision included several references to substance-abuse problems that have interrupted Valenzuela’s career.

“This Officer cannot ignore the number of chances the CHRB previously gave” Valenzuela, Kane wrote. “It should be noted that since 2000, [Valenzuela] has what this Officer considers 15 major rule violations and/or convictions.”

Kane said he was “encouraged” that Valenzuela did not have substance-abuse violations in the last six months, but stated “a six-month record free of violations fails to demonstrate adequate rehabilitation in light of [Valenzuela’s] numerous past transgressions.”

Before he potentially reapplies for a license in 2017, the racing board has ordered Valenzuela undergo counseling with the Winner’s Foundation, which provides people in California racing assistance with alcohol- and substance-abuse problems.

Valenzuela, 53, has won 4,366 races, including the 1989 Kentucky Derby on Sunday Silence.

In recent weeks, Valenzuela has been exercising horses at Santa Anita with the goal of resuming his career.

Valenzuela has not ridden in California since early 2014.

Valenzuela lost a request to be reinstated as a jockey in California in July 2015 after he was suspended by Santa Anita stewards in March 2014 for failing to appear to ride on consecutive days at Santa Anita in January 2014.

At the time, the stewards stated Valenzuela should not be reinstated in any capacity.

Valenzuela appealed the decision to a hearing officer who recommended the rider be reinstated. The racing board rejected the decision, but allowed Valenzuela to hold an exercise rider’s license in the state. The decision was reached in a stipulated agreement between the rider and racing board. At the time, Valenzuela was not eligible to ride races through the term of his California license, which expired last October.

Valenzuela rode in Louisiana last fall and winter because he had a valid license in that state. Valenzuela won 19 races in Louisiana and Texas from late November to late February. He stopped riding in late February because of a hand injury, he said in late June.

Shawn Carter 6 months ago
I would love to see Patrick come back and school these kids how to actually get the best out of a racehorse. P. Val has always been one of my favorite riders through the ups and downs. And I miss the way he would put a horse on the front end and keep on going. Hopefully he finally has gotten the monkey off his back and he's ready to come back and perform for his loyal fans. Cause with the exception of Raffy B., Stevens, Victor, Kent D., Pratt, and Mike Smith..... he'll outride the rest of them bums easily whether its s grade 1 or a $2,500 claimer.
John Mechelke 12 months ago
Probably should start looking for a different line of work, Patrick.
Vince Piscitelli 12 months ago
Hope he stays off the dope. I smoked dope once in high school prior to riding at the Fair in Ferndale and almost fell off my horse.

Dope makes you do dopey things in my professional opinion.

Vince P
Tony Volu 12 months ago
i think that if  patrick deals with the winners foundation and attends meetings and stays free from all substances for a good period of time ,the board will give him a shot .this guy no matter what you think is one of the greatest riders that have ever rode a racehorse .it just takes some time to get rid of bad habits. if i ever run one of my horses in ca.in the future i would be honored to have patrick ride for me and the same for desormeaux
Frank 12 months ago
you are completely insulting all the great riders of our sport to say he was one of the greatest.

PVal is nothing more then a non-functioning junky who is also a criminal. 
Chris 12 months ago
I'm all for 2nd chances, but 15 rule violations since 2000?  Cmon, when will he learn his lesson.  I hear Desormeaux is doing much better, and glad to hear that.  I have him running on one of my horses coming up.  Always good to hear people change for the better.
Richard Glassman 12 months ago
Not all those violations are drug related. I can't remember any incident where he was found to be on drugs during racing. I'm not positive but I thing most of his violations were taking of mounts and not showing up. But, it's better not showing up rather than riding high. Alcohol and drugs are an addiction and we had presidents whom admitted to using Cocaine and smoking weed. I'm not justifying Patricks addiction but at least his colorful personality and Rocky type persona is what TVG needs because bettors arn't usually past alter boys who can't relate to the ups and downs of life.

eddie 12 months ago
Anyone knows the latest on Corey Nakatani?
Chris 12 months ago
Last I saw was from DRF which said: 

The veteran jockey, a former leading rider in Southern California, said on Sunday that he is contemplating retirement and is frustrated by a lack of opportunities to gain mounts in leading races in recent seasons. He stopped short of announcing his retirement, saying he would assess the situation in the near future.
Richard Glassman 12 months ago
Patrick would be such a great host on TVG. Patrick is the Rocky of horse bettors. You can knock him down, but he will get back up and fight. Give Patrick a shot on TVG !
Frank 12 months ago
yes put him with all the other CA loser idiots on TVG (except the ones that came from HRTV) -- I have to mute my TVG now when watching horse racing during the day.

Chris 12 months ago
Its rather funny to see all the east coast hatred toward racing in So Cal.
Frank 12 months ago
I dont care if jockeys are on drugs or alcohol as long as they can functional...Hell dont blame them -  they are a bunch of crazy thrill seekers...

However PVal is one who cant function this way -- he is a total loser and doesnt belong anywhere near horse racing!

Richard Glassman 12 months ago
Why don't you like the host on TVG ? Don't you think a jockey's input would be good ? 

John 12 months ago
At the beginning, we all loved Patrick, I mean who didnt love his getting to the front and running them into the dirt, but hey ! They say, " Make me look like a fool once, shame on you, make me look like a fool a 2nd time , then shame on ME "
Sorry Patrick, I think we are all too tired of your lack of responsibility to the fans and the barns !
realgooddogtoo 12 months ago
This guy doesn't deserved another chance , he put the whole jockeys colony in danger if allowed to ride again , if I was on the Board of the Racing commission I wouldn't even give him a license to exercise horse period. The track should keep this dope out.
William 12 months ago
Right decision. He's had too many chances and failed.