06/29/2016 2:30PM

Valenzuela hopes to be granted jockey's license

Shigeki Kikkawa
Patrick Valenzuela appealed a decision turning down his request for a jockey's license in California.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who has not ridden since late February in Louisiana, is hoping to ride in California in July for the first time since early 2014 if he is granted a license by the California Horse Racing Board.

Valenzuela has an exercise rider’s license in California and was in the stables at Santa Anita last weekend, soliciting mounts for the upcoming Del Mar summer season.

Valenzuela does not have a jockey’s license in California. His request for a jockey’s license was rejected by the California Horse Racing Board in March. He appealed the decision, and a hearing was held on April 27.

Hearing officer Patrick Kane submitted a decision to the racing board on June 20, a racing board official said. The full racing board is expected to review the decision in a closed session at Del Mar on July 14. An announcement on the decision is not expected until the following week.

Valenzuela said he is hoping to receive a favorable ruling and be granted a license.

“Hopefully, it will go my way,” Valenzuela said last weekend.

Valenzuela, 53, has a history of substance abuse problems that have led to suspensions and interruptions to his career, which began in 1978. He won the 1989 Kentucky Derby on Sunday Silence and has 4,366 career victories.

Valenzuela was denied his 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 California. 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 last weekend.