FAIRPLEX STORY: INJURED FAIRPLEX REGULAR FERNANDO VALENZUELA SET FOR RETURN
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ed Golden
Ordinarily, jockey Fernando Valenzuela would be a fixture at Fairplex Park.
Not this season.
A serious spill in the last race on Big 'Cap day at Santa Anita on March 3
resulted in a broken forearm that has sidelined the likeable jockey for more
than six months.
The cousin of world class rider Pat Valenzuela, Fernando has toiled
diligently and without fanfare in relative obscurity at the lower echelon of
a game he loves.
Not unlike his more famous cousin, but certainly for more socially acceptable
reasons, Fernando is in the midst of his umpteenth comeback.
"I'll be getting on horses this week, so I should be back in about three or
four weeks," Fernando said during a visit to Fairplex Park on Friday. "I'm a
little heavy right now, so I've got to trim down."
Valenzuela has a six-inch scar on the lower part of his left forearm. It's so
gruesome, Frankenstein's monster would envy it. It is the culmination of his
most recent spill.
"What happened was, in March I broke a bone in an injury I had before,"
Valenzuela said. "I had a metal plate in the arm before the accident in
March, and when I went down I broke the same arm. I had to wait until it
healed. I had planned to have the plate from the first injury removed, so I
did that, but then I had to give the latest injury enough time to let the
holes fill in and heal properly."
Six months with little or no income is trying on the budget, as well as one's
emotional state. Valenzuela took it in stride.
"You just have to wake up each day and make the best of it," said the
33-year-old San Diego native. "You can't sit there and cry about it. I've
been through plenty of accidents before. This is not the first time. I've
learned the best thing to do, is worry about healing properly first, then
coming back to ride."
Fernando and Patrick are not what one might call soul mates, but they do
"We've seen each other a couple times throughout the summer," Fernando said.
"But he's been kind of doing his work and I've been kind of doing my own
thing. With the passing away of his father, it's been kind of tough, but I'm
just looking forward to starting up in the next couple weeks."
Patrick's career has been marked by suspensions for various substance abuse
violations, while Fernando's has been relatively clean. P. Val's latest
comeback at age 39 is his best yet. Except for taking a day off for his
father's funeral, he hasn't missed a beat.
"I'm not surpised (at how well he's doing)," Fernando said. "He's a very
talented rider and he's a very likeable guy. I'm very happy to see him back
up on top and riding good horses. Hopefully, I'll be back and riding good
STRONG LINEUP ANTICIPATED FOR RALPH M. HINDS INVITATIONAL ON CLOSING DAY
Fairplex Park racing secretary Richard Wheeler expects a large field in the
track's marquee event, the 24th running of the $100,000 Ralph M. Hinds Pomona
Invitational Handicap, on closing day, Sept. 29. Wheeler named the following
horses (trainers in parenthesis) as possible for the about 1 1/8-mile race:
Sigfreto (Doug Peterson); J.T.'s Song (Mike Mitchell); Truly A Judge (David
Bernstein); Reba's Gold (Dan Hendricks); Macaneo (Roger Stein); Dixie Thrill
(Doug O'Neill); San Nicholas (Jeff Bonde); Nate's Colony (Jack Carava); Hook