11/04/2002 12:00AM

Valenzuela takes 15-day suspension


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Patrick Valenzuela, the leading rider at the spring-summer Hollywood Park and Del Mar meetings this year, has dropped appeals of three suspensions and will be out of action for most of November.

Beginning Wednesday, opening day of the Hollywood Park fall meeting, Valenzuela will be suspended through Sunday, Nov. 24, a span of 15 racing days. In addition, he will not be eligible to ride designated races, or major stakes, from Nov. 20 to 24 as part of the terms of a five-day suspension at Del Mar.

Jockeys are typically granted the opportunity to ride stakes during routine suspensions unless otherwise stated by track stewards. But when Valenzuela was suspended for five days for causing intereference on Sept. 11, the final day at Del Mar, the stewards said he would be ineligible for designated races or stakes as part of that suspension.

The situation is unlikely to cause a problem in late November for Valenzuela, who said on Sunday that he will busy over the next three weeks. He said he will be married this weekend in Pasadena to his longtime fiancee Valerie Hays. They are planning a honeymoon later this month in Bora Bora.

Valenzuela was suspended twice for causing interference at Del Mar and once at the recently concluded Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita.

Valenzuela received a seven-day suspension for interference that led to a fall involving jockey Kevin Krigger at Del Mar on Aug. 21. He then received five days on Sept. 11 at Del Mar and three days for a turf race on Oct. 9 at Santa Anita.

Valenzuela said he was reluctant to drop the appeals.

"I wish I didn't have to quit riding, but you have to respect the stewards' decisions," he said. "If I didn't feel like I should be served a suspension, I will appeal."

Winless Krone remains upbeat

Julie Krone, the Hall of Famer and world's leading female rider, ended the first three days of her comeback on Sunday without a victory in six starts.

Krone launched a comeback following an absence of 3 1/2 years on Friday. She had one ride on Friday, three on Saturday's California Cup card, and two on Sunday, including Summerwood who finished fourth in an optional claiming race.

"It will be more fun when I start winning," she said. "I'll make it happen."

Krone, 39, announced her comeback last month after spending the last two summers working as an exercise rider during Del Mar meetings. Her return marks the first time she has ridden in Southern California on a regular basis, having spent the 1980's and 1990's riding primarily in Florida, New Jersey, and New York.

On Wednesday, Krone has one mount at Hollywood Park - Bonair Lake in the fifth race. A 4-year-old colt, Bonair Lake won a maiden race at Hollywood Park in May, but is winless in his last three starts for trainer John Sadler.

Carava has different Hollywood goals

Jack Carava admits that the training title he earned at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet this fall will be difficult to follow at Hollywood Park. Carava ended the five-week Oak Tree meet with 14 wins, five more than Bob Baffert.

"We ran pretty hard," Carava said. "I ran 50 horses here. We'll spend the time to claim some horses and rebuild the barn."

The Oak Tree title was Carava's first at Santa Anita and second of his career. He won the 2001 title at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting. During that meeting, he beat Baffert by one winner.

"This time we had some room to spare," he said.

One horse that Carava has high hopes for is Gambler's Mark, a 2-year-old colt who finished second as a heavy favorite in a maiden race for sprinters last Wednesday. It was the colt's second career start, coming 18 days after a runner-up finish.

"I think we ran him back too soon," he said. "I think he'll develop over time."

Turf stakes spice opening week

The opening week of the Hollywood Park meeting runs through Monday's Veterans Day program.

Aside from Wednesday's Bien Bien Stakes, there are two additional turf stakes during opening week - Saturday's $125,000 Matiara Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles and Sunday's $70,000 Steinlen Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.

The Matiara Stakes will include Secret Garden, an import from England trained by John Gosden. Secret Garden has won twice, including the listed October Stakes over seven furlongs at Ascot on Oct. 12.

Owned by Robert Sangster, Secret Garden is expected to stay in California following the Matiara and will be turned over to trainer Simon Bray.

The nomination list includes Megahertz, the promoted winner of the American Oaks in July following the disqualification of Dublino from first to second.

She is trained by Bobby Frankel, who also nominated Kithira, a winner of a division of the Harold Ramser Handicap last month.

On Sunday, Frankel said he was uncertain which of his fillies would start in the Matiara.