The California Horse Racing Board suspended jockey Patrick Valenzuela indefinitely Feb. 7 for failing to appear before stewards at Santa Anita Park over charges that he failed to fulfill his riding agreement.
The 51-year-old Valenzuela took off his two scheduled mounts Jan. 24 and has not been in touch with his agent, Tom Knust, since then.
"He did not show up that day and one of the horses won," Knust related. "Then the next day I got a message saying, 'I'm sorry Tom, but I'm no longer riding.'
"It's weird because we're good friends in addition to me being his jockey agent. That's Patrick. I figure he'll call me when he wants to talk to me."
With a long history of substance abuse problems, Valenzuela had been riding with a conditional license making him subject to drug and alcohol testing at the CHRB's request. He has had 20 mounts at the current Santa Anita stand without finishing in the money in any of them. He has recorded four wins from 105 mounts since the start of 2013.
Valenzuela is a 13-time riding champion in Southern California who won the Kentucky Derby on Sunday Silence in 1989 and captured seven Breeders' Cup World Championships races. He has 4,346 victories from 28,398 mounts in a career that began in 1978, according to Equibase, with career purse earnings of more than $165 million.
According the the CHRB order issued Friday, "all licenses and license privileges of Patrick Valenzuela are suspended. Mr. Valenzuela is denied access to all premises in this jurisdiction."