10/10/2002 11:00PM

Valenzuela suspended, fined


ARCADIA, Calif. - Patrick Valenzuela, the leading rider at Hollywood Park and Del Mar this year, was disqualified from two winners on Wednesday and Thursday at Santa Anita and received a three-day suspension on Friday for one of the troubled rides. It was his third suspension for a riding infraction in the last two months.

Valenzuela is expected to appeal the suspension, which was given for his ride aboard Free Question in Wednesday's third race, according to his agent, Nick Cosato.

Valenzuela wasn't sanctioned for his ride on Jitterbug Jan, who was disqualified from a win in Thursday's fourth race.

"I wasn't happy with the disqualifications, but I respect the stewards' decisions," Valenzuela said on Friday. "I'm riding to win, but unfortunately I've been in a couple of DQ's."

Combined with 12 days of suspension under appeal for rulings during the Del Mar meeting, Valenzuela could miss 15 days of racing, or three weeks, in the future if he drops or loses the appeals.

In addition to the suspension, Valenzuela and jockey Kevin Krigger were each fined $200 on Friday for an altercation in the jockey's room after Wednesday's third race.

Aboard Free Question, Valenzuela was cited for failing to maintain a straight course. Free Question was disqualified from first and placed sixth. Jitterbug Jan was disqualified from first and placed fourth for a similar infraction, which upset trainer and co-owner Clifford Sise.

"Patrick called me last night to apologize," Sise said on Friday morning. "Patrick rides to win. I'm not upset with the call. I'm upset that it happened."

Jitterbug Jan won the one-mile maiden race on turf by a length after forcing her way between fillies in midstretch.

Steward Tom Ward said two factors went into the stewards' decision not to issue Valenzuela a suspension for Thursday's disqualification. "He had to come out to avoid heels and when he came out he grabbed his horse," Ward said. "He made an attempt to straighten him up."

At Del Mar, Valenzuela was given a seven-day suspension for interference that led to a fall involving Krigger on Aug. 21. He received a five-day suspension for causing interference on Sept. 11, the closing day of the meeting.

Congaree, Reba's Gold likely for Cigar Mile

Reba's Gold, the winner of the Pomona Invitational on Sept. 29 and the third-place finisher in the Goodwood Handicap on Oct. 6, is being pointed for the $350,000 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct on Nov. 30, trainer Dan Hendricks said.

As a long-term goal, Hendricks mentioned the $1 million Godolphin Mile in Dubai in March as a possibility.

"How many times do you get to run a mile for that kind of money?" Hendricks said.

Last year, the Godolphin Mile was won by the Southern California-based Grey Memo.

The Cigar Mile is also on the schedule of Congaree, who finished a disappointing seventh in the Oak Tree Mile in his turf debut on Oct. 5.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Congaree has won two stakes this year, including the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap at a mile on dirt. Congaree is best known for a third-place finish in the 2001 Kentucky Derby.

Blanket makes for warm closing day

The recent strike on West Coast docks has affected a promotion at Santa Anita. On Oct. 19, the track was scheduled to give away a stadium blanket to customers who are part of the Thoroughbreds promotions program.

The dock strike ended earlier this week, but the promotion was postponed to Nov. 3 because the blankets are on a ship that has yet to be unloaded. Nov. 3 is the final day of the Oak Tree meeting.

Local rider Flores among Woolf nominees

Five jockeys from throughout the United States have been nominated for the 2003 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, presented annually at Santa Anita.

The nominees are Robert Colton and Mario Pino from the mid-Atlantic region; Richard Migliore and Edgar Prado from the New York circuit; and local rider David Flores.

The award is voted on by jockeys and honors riders with accomplished careers and character. The winner will be announced in January.

BC Mile hopefuls breeze

Good Journey, the winner of the Atto Mile and a leading contender for the Breeders' Cup Mile, worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 at Hollywood Park on Friday. Wally Dollase trains Good Journey.

Nuclear Debate, a Breeders' Cup Mile hopeful who was third in the Atto Mile, breezed five furlongs in 1:02 at Santa Anita on Friday. Darrell Vienna trains Nuclear Debate, who was a stakes winner in Europe but has yet to win at that level in this country.

* There will be racing at Santa Anita on Monday, Columbus Day. Entries were drawn on Friday and when 17 3-year-old fillies entered the Harold Ramser Handicap, the race was divided into two $75,000 divisions, to be run as the fifth and seventh races.

The Ramser is run over a mile on turf.

Owner Harrington dies

L. Dean Harrington, a longtime horse owner in Southern California, died on Wednesday night after a lengthy battle with heart problems. He was 77.

Harrington operated a heavy equipment rental business. He and his wife, Deloyce, were married for 56 years.

As a horse owner, Harrington employed several trainers, among them Leonard Duncan, Jerry Dutton, Rodney Hart, Mike Mitchell, and Danny Velasquez.

With Hart, Harrington's Sandys Love Bug won the Pomona Quarter Horse Championship in 1990. A year later, Harrington won the Mt. Harvard Handicap for Thoroughbreds at the Orange County Fair at Los Alamitos with Bailarin, who paid $178 to win.

A funeral service will be held this week in Kiowa, Okla., Harrington's hometown.