06/23/2008 12:00AM

Valenzuela has five-win day at SunRay


Patrick Valenzuela crept closer to the 4,000-win threshold when he booted home five winners on Sunday's card at SunRay Park in Farmington, N.M. He also had two seconds and a fourth from his eight mounts.

"Not a bad day at all," Valenzuela said Sunday evening as he was leaving for Durango, Colo., to visit one of his daughters. "Five wins, two seconds, and a fourth, wow!"

Valenzuela was under the radar on Saturday, finishing third with his lone mount in his first trip to SunRay Park, a bullring track set in the high desert of the Four Corners area. But he was a crowd favorite on Sunday when he went 3 for 3 early.

Valenzuela flashed his Quarter Horse form in the second race by taking Mr Special Eyes ($15.40) wire to wire. Said I Wouldn't ($8.80) then drew off to win the third race by six lengths. The jockey then took Retsina Spring ($5.40) through a relaxed lead, saving enough for the win in the fourth. Nobel Lady then looked to be winner No. 4 when she took the lead in the fifth race, but she tired in the stretch.

Valenzuela found his way back to the winner's circle when favored Secret Ridge ($4) was a handy winner in race 6. Victorious Vee ($5.60) then drew off in the seventh race to be the 3,978th career winner for Valenzuela, a Colorado native.

He finished his day with a second aboard the late-charging Snowdrop in the $50,000 Fischer Memorial Handicap, and a second on Desert Luck in the nightcap. Valenzuela credited Casey Lambert with a gutsy ride when Lambert bested him by a neck in the last race.

After a brief family vacation in Durango, Valenzuela will head back to Bossier City, La., where he is riding at Louisiana Downs.

"I don't know after that," he said. "Maybe the Fair Grounds, maybe California, but I'll just put it in God's hands and see where things take me."