Valenzuela, who has not been able to regain a conditional license that would allow him to ride in California, returned in Zia's sixth race, guiding the 2-5 favorite Strong Force to a fourth-place finish. However, he won the next two races on the card with odds-on choices Devil Action and Must Be a Topper. He concluded his day in the ninth race when My Pizazz ran out of the money.
The oft-suspended 45-year-old jockey had not ridden since Nov. 26 following a mishap that resulted in three fractured ribs and subsequent surgery on his right knee. He met with Santa Anita stewards Oct. 24, who declined to take a position on a conditional license at the the time.
Valenzuela represented by agent Tom Knust, subsequently gained approval in New Mexico. he has been working horses at the Hobbs track the past week.