Valenzuela Wins Twice in Hollywood Return

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, out of action since failing to submit to a mandatory drug test Jan. 22, successfully returned to action Sunday at Hollywood Park, winning two races.

The 41-year-old Valenzuela also posted a second in five mounts.

Valenzuela said he was pleased that fans seemed to welcome him back.

"It's good to have the fan support," Valenzuela said. "It gives me the ability to go out there, knowing the fans are behind me -- as well as the horsemen."

California Horse Racing Board issued a stay April 16 of Valenzuela's suspension, which was to have run through the end of 2004, pending an appeal May 18 of the Santa Anita stewards' ruling to revoke his conditional license. Commissioners for the CHRB are planning to hear the appeal.

Valenzuela returned to place second in the second race Sunday aboard Butte City in an $8,000 claimer.

He won the next two races, aboard Haleakala Sunrise in a maiden special weight race for fillies and mares, and on favored Ms Mintons Excess in a maiden claiming event for California breds.

"It was awesome to win in any race, no matter whether it's a stakes race or an $8,000 claimer," Valenzuela said. "It's the feeling of winning ... it felt like a million dollar race."

He was out of the money aboard longshots Makeup Artist in the Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) and Defcon Five in the maiden special weight nightcap.