One More Time – And That Is Final

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 17, 2008 in General Discussion, Horse Racing, News | No Comments >>

If you have been watching races over 15 years or so, you have surely taken a glance at Patrick Valenzuela. There is more talent in his toe than in most hearts of riders. He has the gift. But during his career, many demons have plagued this star. He is back. Back in Louisiana riding for more than just purse money.

In January of this year, he thought his career was long over. Not due to injury, but to his own doing. The State of California revoked his conditional license over a drunk driving arrest. Things do happen, but they seem to follow him all of the time.

P-Val, as he is known to many in the game, is three wins shy of 4,000 victories. He is currently 10th in the standings at Louisiana Downs. It takes time to build trust. Trust with owners, trainers, track management, and most importantly, the fans.

On Thursday, the California Horse Racing Board is considering reinstatement; to give a man who has fallen to drugs, drink, and many personal failures another lease on life. He has been here before. Many times over. But this time he looks like a man who knows the sands of the hourglass are running out. He is ready. Ready if given an opportunity.

P-Val is aboard Mambo Meister in the G-2 $500,000 Super Derby. A race he has not ridden in since 1996. He is hoping this national race will be the drawing card that gives a 45 year-old-rider another chance. His final in a storied career. He has mounts aboard some of the greats in our sport. To name a few, he has victories in the: Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and has seven Breeders’ Cup victories to his name.

This final chapter in his career can be filled with a run at glory. In the past, he has let many down; most of all, himself.  But I think this final round could be different. He has been with the best, and rode with the best. P-Val has taken things slow and steady, as a man who was preparing for a journey. I believe he is going on a journey. To a place that he knows all so well. The winner’s circle.