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Valenzuela Suspended Again

July 03, 2004|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela's latest comeback lasted all of one day.

About two hours before first post Friday night at Hollywood Park, Valenzuela was suspended by stewards Pete Pedersen, George Slender and Tom Ward for failing to comply fully with the terms of his conditional license with the California Horse Racing Board.

Valenzuela, 41, who won two races on Thursday after returning from a month-long suspension, was unable to provide CHRB investigators with a required hair sample to be tested for drugs.

The leading rider at all of the major Southern California meets last year, Valenzuela, who has been suspended numerous times during his career, was unable to give them the sample because he had shaved his head and other parts of his body where hair could be removed for testing.

Seventy to 120 strands of hair are said to be required.

Before he resumed riding on Thursday, Valenzuela did provide a urine sample, which tested negative, but the hair-follicle test is considered far more effective than urinalysis in detecting drug use.

As part of its agreement with the oft-troubled jockey, the CHRB mandated that his hair follicles be subject to testing.

Earlier this year, Valenzuela was suspended by the stewards at Santa Anita for failing to appear for a drug test. He was originally suspended for the remainder of the year for that violation of his conditional license, but the suspension was later reduced by the CHRB at a hearing on May 18. He sat out all of June, missing a chance to ride Rock Hard Ten in the Belmont Stakes.

Corey Black, the former jockey who now serves as Valenzuela's agent, said Valenzuela and his attorney Don Calabria were hoping to meet with the stewards this morning and said the rider had been shaving his body for a long time.

Pedersen, Slender and Ward wouldn't comment on the matter but did say there was no formal meeting scheduled for this morning.

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