Jose Valdivia Jr., winner of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) aboard 30-1 shot Castledale, said Wednesday that he has fired his agent of seven months, Tom Knust, and replaced him with his former agent, Brian Beach. Valdivia, 29, had gone through a 73-race losing streak recently but said that had nothing to with Knust's dismissal. "It wasn't the streak or the Santa Anita Derby, obviously," Valdivia said Wednesday morning. "I've been thinking about it for a while. I just didn't think the chemistry was there. We were just knocking heads a couple of times. He did a great job and I thank him for what he did. He's a great person and a hard-working guy but the chemistry just wasn't there for us to stay together, so I thought it better to make a change.
"I had Brian in the past and got along great with him. We departed because his father was diagnosed with cancer. That was the only reason we went our separate ways. It never was a reflection on his work ethic or anything else. I thank Tom because he was good for me for the time being." Valdivia said Beach will begin handling his business effective next Wednesday with Santa Anita's final condition book. "Jose wanted to have a new agent, which is his prerogative," Knust said. "He's a very good rider and I'm happy with what we've accomplished so far. We're 16th in the country in money won right now ($2,117,517). He told me about the firing yesterday. He just said he wanted to make a change and he's got that right. I wish him the best of luck."