Jockey Patrick Valenzuela has given his rivals a huge head start in defense of his Santa Anita riding title.The 42-year-old Colorado native concludes 13 days serving accumulated suspension days on Sunday, when he resumes riding full time after being limited to designated races through the first eight days of this meet.
He has spotted current leader Alex Solis 17 wins, but Solis begins a three-day suspension today.
"I've been riding designated races, working a lot of horses and doing a bit of gym exercises and that's about it," said Valenzuela, who won 94 races at last season's meet. "I think riding a thousand some-odd horses last year keeps me pretty fit. A week and a half is not going take you apart. I've been staying active. We give it 150 percent every day."