Stay Denied, Valenzuela Awaits Stewards

Stay Denied, Valenzuela Awaits Stewards
Photo: Associated Press
Pat Valenzuela denied.
Jockey Patrick Valenzuela was denied a stay of his suspension by California Superior Court judge David Yaffe on July 16 and will not be permitted to ride until he appears at a hearing before Del Mar stewards.

Such a meeting could come as early as July 23. The embattled rider was suspended July 2 after failing to comply with the terms of his conditional license and provide hair samples for mandatory hair follicle testing.

Yaffe dismissed Valenzuela's request without prejudice, according to deputy attorney general Jim Ahern. The 41-year-old rider could request another stay if his administrative hearing is not heard by July 29.

"If the administrative hearing isn't held by July 29, then Mr. Valenzuela can go back to court and request another stay," Ahern said. "The judge was more than fair. He went over all the evidence and knew all the terms of (Valenzuela's) conditional license and understood the history.

"Mr. Valenzuela's attorney, Mr. (Neil) Papiano and I, would like to push forward with this and have a hearing ASAP. Right now we're looking at July 23 and July 29 down in Del Mar and which day depends on whether the expert witness on hair follicle testing is available."

Hollywood Park stewards scheduled a meeting for July 15 initially, but it was postponed after they granted a request for continuance to Ahern, who asked for more time to schedule an expert witness to discuss hair follicle testing and analysis.

Valenzuela's most recent suspension came one day after he returned from a 30-day ban for failing to submit to a mandatory drug test in January. Hollywood Park officials claimed the rider was unable to provide hair follicles for testing because he had fully shaved his body and could not comply.

However Valenzuela's attorney, Papiano, said he met with Valenzuela July 6 and said there was hair on Valenzuela's head.

"I'm disappointed, obviously," Corey Black, Valenzuela's agent, said. "But the judge's ruling forces (the stewards) to speed things up."

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