Valenzuela's California Ban Permanent

Valenzuela's California Ban Permanent
Photo: Benoit
Patrick Valenzuela

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, closing in on 4,000 victories in a star-crossed career, is apparently finished competing in California.

In adopting a proposed decision from an administrative law judge who conducted a hearing July 15 on Valenzuela's status, the California Horse Racing Board revoked the rider's conditional license, which was suspended at the end of 2007, and made him permanently ineligible to reapply for or hold a license from the CHRB.

The CHRB announced the action Sept. 25, one week after an executive session of the board was held to review the proposed decision of Daniel Juarez, the administrative law judge who conducted the hearing.

CHRB spokesman Mike Marten said the 45-year-old Valenzuela had requested the hearing in order to clarify his status in California, where he has ridden for most of his 29-year career. He is currently competing in Louisiana, where he was licensed this spring.

Valenzuela, with 3,998 wins as of Sept. 25, was represented in the California hearing by attorney Neil Papiano, who did not respond to a message seeking comment on any further legal maneuvers.

The jockey has not ridden in California since Dec. 26 following his arrest for driving under the influence, which violated terms of his conditional license that stipulated he not consume or possess alcohol. He later pleaded guilty to the charge in San Bernardino County and was sentenced to a $1,595 fine and three years of probation.

Valenzuela's career has been marked by a history of substance-abuse problems and resulting suspensions. It has been estimated that he has missed more than seven years of competition due to license suspensions or denials since November 1978.

His career includes Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I) wins aboard Sunday Silence in 1989, and seven Breeders' Cup victories.
 

Most Popular Stories