Valenzuela Weighs Appeal to Ride in Belmont

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who was set to serve out the remaining 30 days for a recent suspension handed to him by the California Horse Racing Board during the month of June, is considering filing an appeal that will allow him to ride Mercedes Stables' and Madeleine Paulson's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Rock Hard Ten in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Valenzuela was suspended for four months, with three months' credit for time served, stemming from an incident back in Janurary where the rider took off his mounts unexpectedly and failed to submit to a mandatory drug test. Gary Stevens rode Rock Hard Ten in the Preakness, but will be unable to return to the United States from his temporary base in France due to previous commitments.
"We had a verbal agreement to ride," Valenzuela's agent, Corey Black, said. "We're considering our options and what we're going to do."
Black added that Valenzuela would like to simply postpone serving the remainder of his suspension until after the final jewel of the Triple Crown, serving his days from June 6 through July 5.

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