Jockey Patrick Valenzuela plans to resume riding career
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) -- Jockey Patrick Valenzuela plans to resume his riding career at Hollywood Park on Thursday after briefly retiring.
The 49-year-old rider had called it quits in November, citing gall bladder surgery and weight issues.
Valenzuela last rode Nov. 13 at the Inglewood track. After not honoring his commitments the next two days, he was fined $1,000 for taking off his mounts without contacting the stewards. His agent, Tom Knust, says the jockey whose career has been marred by suspensions for drug and alcohol abuse passed two blood tests at the time.
Knust says Valenzuela has hired a personal trainer and changed his diet, which has made a difference for him. Knust says Valenzuela has been exercising horses the last couple of weeks and "feels great."
Knust says Valenzuela met with the stewards recently and was cleared to ride, although he must continue making himself available for drug testing at any time.
Valenzuela has two mounts Thursday on opening day of the track's spring-summer meeting. He will ride Eclipse Award winner Acclamation in Friday's Inglewood Handicap, and has three other mounts on that night's card.
Jockey Tyler Baze will meet with stewards Saturday in an attempt to be reinstated. He was suspended last summer at Del Mar after failing to show up for a scheduled breathalyzer test. Baze is currently enrolled in a substance abuse treatment program.