05/20/2008 11:00PM

Valenzuela to ride in Louisiana


Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who has not ridden since December after he had his conditional jockey’s license in California revoked following an arrest for driving under the influence, has relocated to Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La., and intends to begin riding there on May 31.

Valenzuela said on Wednesday that he has been working horses at Louisiana Downs since mid-May. He was licensed in Louisiana last fall when he rode stakes at Delta Downs in Vinton, La. The license remains valid, according to Louisiana state steward Roy Wood, who was the executive director of the California Horse Racing Board from 1994 to 2004.

Valenzuela, 45, last rode on Dec. 26, the opening day of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting. The winner of the 1989 Kentucky Derby aboard Sunday Silence and seven Breeders’ Cup races, Valenzuela pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge of driving under the influence in Upland, Calif., last December. Valenzuela was sentenced to three years probation and fined $1,595.

After the arrest became public last December, Valenzuela’s conditional license was revoked in California.

“I’ve got the legal stuff out of the way,” Valenzuela said on Wednesday.

“I want to ride races,” he said. “It seems horsemen here are accepting me. It’s so nice to be back here working horses.”

Valenzuela, whose career has been plagued by a history of substance abuse problems, made arrangements earlier this year to ride at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, but never rode at that meeting.

Wood said that Valenzuela’s Louisiana license is valid through the end of June.

“We asked him to give us an affidavit from a doctor to say he could ride,” Wood said.

The jockey will not have any restrictions on the license, Wood said, but added, “Everyone in racing in Louisiana is subject to random drug testing.”