10/24/2005 12:00AM

Valenzuela fined for communication glitch

Sweet Return, here winning the Eddie Read, is expected back next year at age 6 after a splint injury heals.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Jockey Patrick Valenzuela will resume riding Wednesday at Santa Anita after missing one week and being fined $1,000 for failing to inform track stewards that he could not ride last Wednesday because of a sore foot.

Under the terms of his conditional license, Valenzuela could have faced a suspension for not contacting the stewards and informing them of his absence. Valenzuela's agent, Ron Ebanks, took responsibility for the lack of communication, calling the incident "a misunderstanding."

Valenzuela called the stewards shortly after the races began Wednesday and told them he was not riding. Valenzuela has not ridden since midway through the Oct. 16 program. He took off that day after complaining of a sore foot. He said he aggravated a tendon in the foot.

Valenzuela, Ebanks, and attorney Neil Papiano met with Santa Anita stewards John Herbuveaux, Kim Sawyer, and George Slender on Saturday morning for approximately 30 minutes.

Saturday morning, Valenzuela was asked to submit to a urine test for the second time in a week. He passed a "field test" earlier this week, according to a racing board official, but was asked to take a more extensive test on Saturday.

Valenzuela worked horses Sunday at Santa Anita, and was named to ride three horses on Wednesday's card.

Old Thunder puts it together

Trainer Ron McAnally believes Old Thunder could have finished second with a better trip in the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity, and after the colt's performance on Saturday, it is easy to see why. Making his fourth career start and first since a fifth-place finish in the Del Mar Futurity, the 2-year-old rolled to an eight-length win and will enter the fall meet at Hollywood Park as a potential stakes prospect.

"We liked him all along, he just needed experience," McAnally said. "He certainly put it all together."

A son of Fusaichi Pegasus out of the stakes-winning sprint mare Enjoy the Moment, Old Thunder won by eight lengths in 1:22.67 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 82. Although Old Thunder's dam did not race beyond seven furlongs, McAnally is confident Old Thunder will run long.

"He looks like a distance horse," said McAnally adding that "the way he's built he reminds me a lot of Hawkster," a Grade 1 winner.

Old Thunder will be nominated to the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue on Nov. 19 at Hollywood Park. That seven-furlong race leads to the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 17.

Sweet Return will be back

The McAnally-trained Sweet Return, one of the top turf horses in California, will race next year as a 6-year-old, but only after healing from a splint injury he sustained finishing fifth (moved to fourth via disqualification) in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap. Sweet Return was checked and steadied in deep stretch, and came out of the race with leg cuts and a filling. McAnally said veterinarians recommended a 30-day layoff.

Sweet Return has won three Grade 1's: the Hollywood Derby in 2003 and the Charles Whittingham Handicap and Eddie Read Handicap this year. Owned by Red Oak Stable, he is expected to return for the Santa Anita winter meet.

Resplendency takes stakes

Resplendency ($12.60) returned to her favorite track and scored a two-length win at Santa Anita Sunday in the $67,990 Pine Tree Lane Stakes. A 4-year-old filly, she pressed the pace in the 6 1/2-furlong race, put away her front-running rivals into the lane, and held off 6-5 favorite Freakin Streakin to win in 1:14.90 on a track that produced fast times.

Victor Espinoza rode the winner for trainer Bob Baffert.

Three of Resplendency's four wins have been at Santa Anita. A daughter of Tale of the Cat, she has earned $280,947 from 14 starts.

Pedersen has his day

Pete Pedersen, who retired as a steward in July after 50 years in racing, was honored in a ceremony between races on Saturday. Pedersen worked in various capacities in racing, first in Washington state and in California after World War II.

City officials were present during the ceremony, proclaiming Saturday "Pete Pedersen Day" in Arcadia.

* Jockey Octavio Vergara has been suspended three days for causing interference in the second race Friday aboard J J Jake. Vergara's suspension begins Saturday and continues through Nov. 2.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen