Patrick Valenzuela, the leading rider at all five of Southern California's major meets during 2003, has fired his agent of the last two years, Nick Cosato.
"I'm just not comfortable with him having another jockey," Valenzuela said Monday morning at Clockers' Corner between working horses. "I wish Nick the best. I don't know right now who my new agent will be. I have somebody in mind but we'll just have to wait a day or two."The popular rider has often credited Cosato for much of his success since returning to active riding at the beginning of the 2001 Santa Anita winter/spring meeting. Valenzuela had been on suspension since February of 2000 after admitting to amphetamine use, the last in a series of drug-related bans that have sidelined the often troubled rider.
"He called me last night and fired me," said Cosato, who took the book of Corey Nakatani at the start of this meet with Valenzuela's approval. "That's all I have to say," Cosato said. "I don't want to say anything else."
Due to serving accumulated suspensions, the 41-year-old Valenzuela missed the first 13 days of the Santa Anita meet except for designated races the first eight days. He resumed riding full time last Sunday and had won nine of 43 races through Jan. 18.
He captured the Santa Anita riding title last season with 94 wins. Overall in 2003, he won championships at the Santa Anita winter/spring meet, the Hollywood Park spring/summer meet, Del Mar, Oak Tree and the Hollywood autumn meet. He became the first rider since Chris McCarron in 1983 to accomplish the feat.