10/18/2005 11:00PM

Valenzuela misses day's rides


Jockey Patrick Valenzuela was taken off his mounts by track stewards at Santa Anita on Wednesday after failing to appear at the track or contacting the stewards early in the day.

Valenzuela phoned the stewards shortly after the races began on Wednesday to say that he thought that his agent, Ron Ebanks, had taken him off his mounts so that he could see a doctor for a lingering sore foot, according to steward Kim Sawyer.

Valenzuela took off his final six mounts on Sunday complaining of a sore foot.

"He said he was going to the doctor for his foot," Sawyer said. "He will come see us in the morning. At least he called."

A phone call placed to Valenzuela's cell phone was not returned early Wednesday afternoon.

In addition to a meeting scheduled with track stewards on Thursday, Valenzuela was expected to face a drug test administered by California Horse Racing Board investigators.

Since January, when he returned to riding after an absence of more than six months, Valenzuela has ridden under a conditional license that allows the racing board to administer random drug tests. Valenzuela has been suspended several times for substance abuse problems.

Through Sunday, Valenzuela, who turned 43 on Monday, was second in the jockey standings at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting, with 14 wins from 65 mounts.