Jockeys Scuffle at Hollywood Park : Patrick Valenzuela Breaks Hand in Fight With Stevens
Patrick Valenzuela suffered a broken right hand Friday in a Hollywood Park jockeys’ room fight with fellow rider Gary Stevens.
Pete Pedersen, of the Board Stewards, said both were fined $200 after hearings Saturday morning.
The two exchanged blows after the sixth race, in which Stevens finished second aboard Blue Eyed Danny and Valenzuela was third on Begger Boy. The latter raced erratically down the stretch.
On Thursday, Stevens complained about Valenzuela’s ride on Icy Amber, who won the seventh race. Stevens, riding Hard To Miss, was forced to steady sharply heading into the stretch.
Valenzuela had been scheduled to ride Very Subtle, one of the favorites in the feature National Sprint Championship Saturday. He was replaced by Eddie Delahoussaye.
Valenzuela also had been scheduled to ride Kool Arrival in today’s $500,000 Hollywood Starlet for 2-year-old fillies.
Dave Samuel, a member of the Board of Stewards, said of the fight: “We knew it was building. In fact, we’d talked with both riders about it. Obviously, they didn’t take our warning.”
Stevens won the 1988 Kentucky Derby aboard Winning Colors and is the leading rider at this thoroughbred meeting with 26 victories. Valenzuela is second with 23.
Stevens won the riding titles at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar this year, and Valenzuela was the champion at Santa Anita’s recently concluded Oak Tree meeting.
Samuel added: “These jocks are like all athletes, and they have tempers. They’re right in that room together and occasionally those tempers go off. It’s not an unusual occurrence. They’re both competitors and they’re fighting for the championship. And that’s healthy as far as I’m concerned.”