P-Val hopes to return Thursday

Patrick Valenzuela, one of the most talented riders around when he’s on the track, hopes to return to action Thursday during the second day of the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita. Valenzuela has not ridden in Southern California since July 16, when his agent Tom Knust, reported that the 43-year-old veteran had a bad back that was most likely going to require surgery.

Later, Knust said P-Val’s back had improved and would not require surgery but that he had checked into a Pasadena-area hospital for personal reasons that have not been disclosed. The hospital reportedly was La Encinas, which specializes in drug and mental health cases. Whatever, P-Val rode 8-1 long shot Becrux to victory in the Woodbine Mile on Sept. 17 in Canada, where he is licensed, and hoped to begin riding Wednesday during Oak Tree’s opening day. But the California Horse Racing Board is waiting for a few more documents, including medical records from his doctors during his absence of more than two months.
According to P-Val, he’s been working three to five horses a day and is feeling fit and ready to go. Ingrid Fermin, executive director of the CHRB, said Valenzuela has passed his urine and hair follicle tests and could be cleared to resume riding in California any day now.
If Valenzuela does make it back, we could be in for a heck of a jockey race between the red-hot Victor Espinoza and P-Val — a two-time Oak Tree riding champion. Espinoza is coming off riding titles at the Hollywood Park and Del Mar meets.

6 thoughts on “P-Val hopes to return Thursday

  1. P. Val is back for yet another “return.” I myself have grown tired of this very talented but child like rider who just can’t get his act together. How many chances does he get or should he get? I only wish I had so many chances in life when making important decisions. His latest absence is caused by “personal” reasons. What B.S. this is. He should come clean and at least disclose to the horsemen and fans that have supported his antics as to why he was gone yet again.

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