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HORSE RACING

Valenzuela loses license after arrest

December 29, 2007|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

The turbulent career of 45-year-old jockey Patrick Valenzuela took another downward turn Friday when the California Horse Racing Board terminated his conditional riding license after learning of a recent arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

A statement issued by outgoing CHRB Executive Director Ingrid Fermin said that "consuming or being under the influence of alcohol is a violation" of the conditional license.

Valenzuela was arrested Dec. 20 at 2:48 a.m. and cited for driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or greater, according to Sgt. Cliff Mathews of the Upland Police Department.

Mathews said Valenzuela's blood-alcohol level won't be known until blood-test results are completed.

The police sergeant said the arrest took place in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant at Foothill and Benson in Upland. Mathews said the arresting officer was in the parking lot attending to another matter when he heard a crash involving a BMW driven by Valenzuela. The officer then noticed Valenzuela was trying to drive away with two flat tires on the driver's side.

Valenzuela, who lives in Arcadia, was released with a citation the next morning and ordered to appear in Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga on Feb. 21.

Valenzuela did not return a call after a message was left with someone who answered his cellphone.

Valenzuela, after not riding for nearly a year, began a comeback Nov. 3 at Zia Park in southeastern New Mexico. He continued his comeback at the just-concluded Hollywood Park meet, riding in 80 races and winning eight to finish 13th in the jockey standings.

The eight wins at Hollywood Park gave Valenzuela 4,004 in a career that includes victories in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and seven Breeders' Cup races. But he also has lost approximately seven years to suspensions or license denials, mostly because of alcohol and drug violations.

Valenzuela's agent, Tom Knust, said he first learned of the rider's license being terminated from a reporter early Friday. He said he later talked with his client but didn't learn any details.

"We're still good friends," Knust said, "and I want to make sure he gets every break he can."

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The New York Racing Assn., which previously had an exclusive carriage agreement with TVG, announced Friday that it has reached non-exclusive one-year agreements with TVG and HorseRacingTV.

The NYRA racetracks are Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga. HRTV, which is the exclusive television carrier of the Santa Anita winter meet, begins its NYRA coverage Tuesday with races from Aqueduct.

The NYRA agreement also includes account wagering rights.

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Eddie Logan, the iconic 97-year-old shoeshine attendant who has been working at Santa Anita since it first opened Dec. 25, 1934, will be honored again today with the second running of the Eddie Logan Stakes. It will be today's eighth race. The Grade I La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, which has a wide-open field of 14, is the ninth.

Highlighting Sunday's card will be the Grade II San Gabriel Handicap. Trainer Bobby Frankel has two of the six entrants, German-bred Proudinsky and Argentine-bred Storm Military.

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larry.stewart@latimes.com

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