Valenzuela Second With First Mount in Comeback

In his first ride in a competitive race since February 2000, jockey Pat Valenzuela rode 17-1 shot Fall For Me to a second-place finish in the fourth race on Santa Anita's opening-day card Wednesday. Valenzuela and Fall For Me rallied and nearly caught winner Chaos N Confusion, with the challenge coming up a length short in the maiden special test for 2-year-olds.

In two other mounts Wednesday, Valenzuela was eighth with 26-1 longshot Warum Nicht in the fifth and 12th and last with 23-1 Doctor Hix Syn in the ninth.

Valenzuela had not ridden in a race since February, 2000, when he was suspended for the latest in a series of drug violations. The rider applied to be relicensed one year later, but that request was rejected.

Valenzuela, who won the Kentucky Derby with Sunday Silence in 1989, received a conditional license to resume riding from the California Horse Racing Board Dec. 14, and began working horses the following day.

Valenzuela's license is contingent on his passing random drug tests. The rider has undergone such testing twice a week for the past six months, according to the attorney. Valenzuela must also continue his participation in substance-abuse programs provided by the Winner's Foundation, a backstretch organization in Southern California whose purpose is to help workers beat substance-abuse problems.