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P Val and the devastating consequences of substance abuse

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  • P Val and the devastating consequences of substance abuse

    In the wake of having lost his racing license (for his recent DUI incident at a fast food drive through! At 2:48 am! ) Patrick Valenzuela is now being urged by his agent, Tom Knust, to retire:

    Steve Andersen for the DRF

    "The chances of him riding again are very slim," Knust said. "My suggestion to him was he's got to live and pay bills and he's got a family to support. He may have to look at other career opportunities.

    "The weight deal is a big thing for him. Trying to diet all the time and reduce, I think with some people it's too much pressure. Maybe he puts too much pressure on himself."

    Knust said that Valenzuela has had significant trouble trying to keep his weight close to his riding assignments.

    "I think he'd be a lot happier human being if he wasn't riding," Knust said. "There has to be a better way to live than the way he's living. I think he knows that he screwed up. I know the weight thing has been a big problem for him. It's unfortunate."
    His talent is undeniable, but addiction leaves him a liability to himself, those around him, and the very sport.

    It's a sad situation. I hope maybe this can be his catalyst for positive change in his life.

  • #2
    Very sad.

    This is such a common theme. Racing really expects jockeys to be awfully light and it's so hard for so many of them, especially as they age. I'm not excusing Valenzuela's actions, but a lot of these guys are struggling. And, honestly, if he's forced into retirement, he's probably going to have a pretty rough time of it for a while.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'd like to argue the opposite -- that PVal has NOT suffered the consequences of substance abuse.

      PVal has been suspended for substance abuse and reinstated so many times I've lost count. They give him his license back and it's just a matter of time before he's caught again. PVal isn't going to change and, unfortunately, neither is racing. If they're serious about their drug policy, why have they repeatedly reinstated PVal? What about all the missed drug tests, the skipped mounts or perhaps the hilarious body-shaving incident to avoid hair follicle testing?

      When you're allowed to continue on like this for a couple of decades -- as PVal has -- you're not suffering consequences IMO. You're playing the system and winning.

      Comment


      • #4
        And as folks pointed out in another forum, if it was Joe Schmoe with a 5% win rate, he would not have gotten so many chances. I'm sorry that Pat V has problems, but enough is enough. They should have applied the tough love a long time ago.

        During the recently concluded Hollywood autumn meet, Valenzuela won with eight of his 80 mounts
        That's not a great win rate either. Maybe this time they'll take it seriously & actually follow through and keep his license revoked.
        Delicious strawberry flavored death!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Oh I absolutely agree -- his licensed should be revoked permanently. (hence, devastating consequences)

          He doesn't belong on the track, not anymore. Nor does anyone else with the same issues.

          Comment


          • #6
            Good gravy, the guy's license should have been permanently stripped years ago. But he is a very talented rider who can afford very talented attorneys good at negotiating...so here we are. I'm just glad he reached this point without killing someone else, or himself, or both.

            It's about time he realized an addiction can be overcome, but an attitude is far more difficult to reshape. He has a rep of being...hmm...unpleasant. Wake up and get help, but you're not welcome around here (the track) anymore.
            SA Ferrana Moniet 1988-2011
            CP Trilogy 2002-2015
            My bloggity blog: Hobby Horse: Adventures of the Perpetual Newbie

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Barnfairy View Post
              Oh I absolutely agree -- his licensed should be revoked permanently. (hence, devastating consequences)

              He doesn't belong on the track, not anymore. Nor does anyone else with the same issues.
              I whole heartily agree. Drug use in both humans and equines is way out of control. It should be stopped, Period.
              http://www.herselffarm.com
              Proud of my Hunter Breeding Princesses
              "Grief is the price we all pay for love," Gretchen Jackson (1/29/07) In Memory of Barbaro

              Comment


              • #8
                This guy has had more chances with the racing commission than Carter has liver pills. I have absolutely zero sympathy for him. He has had umpteen chances and has proven time and time again he is a perpetual mess up.

                He wrote his place in the history books and has no one to blame but himself for his downward spiral in the years thereafter.
                To get in the winners' circle you must first get into the gate

                Comment


                • #9
                  He's baaaack

                  PVal is heading to La. The Racing Commission decided that since he didn't violate the rules of racing, reciprocity didn't apply so his La. license is still good.

                  From today's (2.4.08) Times-Picayune:http://www.nola.com/sports/t-p/horse...260.xml&coll=1
                  VALENZUELA COMING: Jockey Patrick Valenzuela will arrive at the Fair Grounds on Thursday and wants to begin riding by Saturday or Sunday, said Danny Gargan, who will be Valenzuela's agent.

                  Valenzuela, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness on Sunday Silence in 1989 and who has seven Breeders' Cup victories, for years was among the best riders based in Southern California. He also has a history of substance-abuse problems and suspensions.

                  His latest problem came Dec. 28, when the California Horse Racing Board terminated the conditional license under which he was riding. He had been arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol -- a violation of the terms of the conditional license.

                  Valenzuela is licensed in Louisiana and remains in good standing. He obtained a jockey's license in December in order to ride on Delta Jackpot day Dec. 7 at Delta Downs. Because of reciprocity among racing states, a licensee who is ruled off the track for violating racing rules in one state will be ruled off in every state. According to the Louisiana State Racing Commission, reciprocity isn't in effect in this matter because it doesn't involve a violation of racing rules.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    normal jockey...little man syndrome......needed to be ruled off for life 15 years ago !!!!!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bobbybobby View Post
                      normal jockey...little man syndrome......needed to be ruled off for life 15 years ago !!!!!!
                      ??? Those remarks really don't add any value.

                      P Val has never been accused as best I know of ever having been inebriated or under the influence of narcotics while riding. While at times an aggressive rider - but the same could be said of ALL of the best riders - he is not a crazy rider.

                      A lot of riders have battled private demons in their personal lives which is sad and tragic to be sure. However in terms of cutting off someone's livelihood in hopes of changing their life off the track is bit overly invasive IMHO.

                      P Val's agent every time he returned lined mounts not out of pity or "for old times sake" but rather because he produced results.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Glimmerglass View Post
                        A lot of riders have battled private demons in their personal lives which is sad and tragic to be sure. However in terms of cutting off someone's livelihood in hopes of changing their life off the track is bit overly invasive IMHO.
                        While I would tend to agree with you in many circumstances, I think you have to take into account that PVal is making a living in the heavily-regulated environment of horse racing.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I watched my friend Chris Antley struggle for years, and it did not get better once he stopped riding... personally, I feel sorry for Pat...although I do agree that rules are rules... obviously his demons are so strong that even the threat of losing what he loves is not going to make a difference.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Glimmerglass View Post
                            A lot of riders have battled private demons in their personal lives which is sad and tragic to be sure. However in terms of cutting off someone's livelihood in hopes of changing their life off the track is bit overly invasive IMHO.

                            P Val's agent every time he returned lined mounts not out of pity or "for old times sake" but rather because he produced results.
                            Normally I would agree with you. True, there is no guarantee that a lifetime ban from racing would be the catalyst for change. But rules are rules, and he has repeatedly been in violation by failing drug tests, or refusing to submit at all.

                            So desperate is Valenzuela that he shaved off all his hair to avoid drug testing: Valenzuela suspended again.

                            Let's not kid ourselves. There is a high probablility that a jockey with an addiction problem this severe has ridden impaired: be it high or be it hung over.

                            Consider that it is exceedingly difficult to maintain sobriety while surrounded by the same old influences (though LA and CA are on separate sides of the country, I'll argue that the pressures & lifestyle surrounding the job are the exact same scene) and it is understandable that even PVal's own agent has urged him to retire.

                            I sincerely hope Valenzuela takes this opportunity to make a fresh start.

                            But I won't be holding my breath.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Barnfairy View Post
                              Consider that it is exceedingly difficult to maintain sobriety while surrounded by the same old influences (though LA and CA are on separate sides of the country, I'll argue that the pressures & lifestyle surrounding the job are the exact same scene)
                              IME, Louisiana is not the best place to go if you're trying to stay sober.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                My point exactly.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by JER View Post
                                  IME, Louisiana is not the best place to go if you're trying to stay sober.
                                  At least he's going post-Mardi Gras

                                  His new agent used to be my roomate and I wish him all the luck and hope he can keep P Val in line. The FG is a bit nicer than zia park too....
                                  To get in the winners' circle you must first get into the gate

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    so easy for everyone to pass judgement...... one of the greatest jockeys ever and if you people knew the first thing about racing you might acknowledge that before calling for his head. try making weight and see how easy it is.
                                    horse show diva dot com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by hipsdontlie View Post
                                      so easy for everyone to pass judgement......
                                      You have no problem passing judgment on Barbaro's owners and all the people who tried to save him.

                                      Hypocrisy is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by hipsdontlie View Post
                                        so easy for everyone to pass judgement...... one of the greatest jockeys ever and if you people knew the first thing about racing you might acknowledge that before calling for his head. try making weight and see how easy it is.
                                        Amazing how many ignorant things can be said in 40 words or less.

                                        But I suppose it's good that we finally have someone among us who apparently knows the first thing about racing.

                                        I'm looking forward to learning from you.

                                        Comment

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