Valenzuela Set for Sunday Return after Morning Works

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela worked two horses on the main track and De La Costa, a nominee for the Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT) on May 1, on the turf at Hollywood Park Thursday as he prepared for a return to riding on Sunday.

"I can't wait to get back," said Valenzuela, who said he is tacking 116 or 117 pounds. "I'm just glad to be back and hopefully will be in the winner's circle soon."

Corey Black, who has taken over as Valenzuela's agent, said he expected to land three or four mounts on the card, including Makeup Artist in the featured Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT).

Valenzuela, who led the jockey standings here last summer en route to sweeping all five major stops on the Southern California circuit, has not ridden since Jan. 19 at Santa Anita. He booked off his mounts later that week, failed to show for a drug test requested by stewards, was suspended indefinitely, and was out of touch with track officials for several weeks.

After meeting twice later with track stewards and citing depression for his absence, Valenzuela was issued a suspension in early April for the remainder of the year. Valenzuela, however, met with California Horse Racing Board chairman John Harris, who last week issued a temporary stay on the ruling until the matter is decided before an administrative hearing judge.