My 5 Favorite Patrick Valenzuela Rides

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

July 22nd, 2016

According to Bloodhorse, The CHRB denied Patrick Valenzuela a racing license again. P.Val will have to wait another year before once again looking to get a license that allows him to ride horses in California. It's become clear that P.Val, who is 52 years old, may never ride a horse again in the State of California. That would be a shame.

I don't want to get into Valenzuela's substance abuse issues. To me, those have been beaten to death. I've been a horse racing fan for 30 years. From my perspective, Patrick Valenzuela is one of the greatest jockeys that I have ever seen. Below are five P.Val rides that I will never forget.



Arazi - 1991 Breeders Cup Juvenile - Bertrando was undefeated going into the race while Arazi ran on dirt for the first time. Plus, Arazi had to break from the outside post. If you watch P.Val's ride, you'll notice that he weaves Arazi through traffic in order to get to Bertrando before flying by that rival while going wide around the final turn. This is one of the most amazing rides in the history of horse racing. It's rare when a jockey has such perfect timing aboard a horse. Arazi doesn't break stride while going in and out of traffic. Wow.


Sunday Silence - 1989 Kentucky Derby - P.Val had some trouble with Sunday Silence in the stretch. He actually brushed with a horse, but it didn't cause enough trouble for them to take down Sunday Silence. To me, this shows how great of a jockey P.Val is. Even in the Kentucky Derby, P.Val made the right moves aboard Sunday Silence in the stretch, he got the horse to change leads correctly, to hold off favored Easy Goer and Pat Day. It's the little things that make jockeys great. Straightening out Sunday Silence in the stretch and getting him to change leads while he's all over the place shows P.Val's amazing riding ability.


Opening Verse - 1991 Breeders Cup Mile - This race shows how P.Val's timing, when he was younger, was unmatched. He allowed three jockeys to duel on the lead before moving Opening Verse at the perfect time. Also, like what European jockeys do when on a turf horse, P.Val went to the whip repeatedly in the stretch on Opening Verse. Patrick Valenzuela could ride any horse on any surface to a win.


Fraise - 1992 Breeders Cup Turf - This is another great turf ride by P. Val. Huge favorite Sky Classic was ahead of Fraise in the stretch. P.Val muscled Fraise past Sky Classic by the slimmest of margins before Sky Classic, again, got in front of Fraise. How P.Val was able to get Fraise, like he did with Sunday Silence, to change leads late in the stretch just enough to get by Sky Classic on the rail is pure magic. This is one of the great rides in Breeders Cup Turf history. Amazing.


Lava Man - 2005 Hollywood Gold Cup - P. Val doesn't do anything incredible aboard Lava Man, the greatest claimer turned champion to ever live, in the 2005 Hollywood Gold Cup. He gives Lava Man a great ride, but P.Val was aboard the best horse in the race although Lava Man did go off at 6 to 1 in Gold Cup that year. The thing is, P.Val was riding this well in 2005 some 14 years after his ride aboard Arazi. Not only that, but he rode one of my favorite horses of all time. P.Val's 2005 Hollywood Gold Cup win aboard Lava Man is, personally, a memorable ride to me. I'll never forget what P.Val did on that day in 2005.