Valenzuela Gets First Victory in Comeback

Valenzuela Gets First Victory in Comeback
Photo: AP/ Benoit Photo
Jockey Patrick Valenzuela.
Troubled rider Patrick Valenzuela scored his first victory in nearly two years at Santa Anita on Monday, winning the third race aboard Rich Musique for owners David and Holly Wilson and trainer Vladimir Cerin.

Valenzuela returned at the beginning of the Santa Anita meeting after stewards gave him a one-year conditional license to ride. The 39-year-old had been suspended since February of 2000 after admitting that he took amphetamines. The suspension was just the latest in a series of drug-related incidents involving Valenzuela. His current license is contingent on his passing random drug tests and continuing to participate in substance abuse programs provided by the Winner's Foundation, a Southern California organization designed to help racetrack employees deal with addiction problems.

Rich Musique, a 2-year-old filly by Rizzi, scored wire to wire -- the type of ride "P. Val" fans were accustomed to seeing in the jockey's rise to prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Rick Musique paid $16.60 to her backers.

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