Valenzuela’s Appeal Fizzles; Penalty Stands : Horse racing: Jockey’s attorney says doctor declined to sign a crucial affidavit.
Pat Valenzuela’s attorney said Sunday night that he and the embattled jockey have exhausted their means of appealing a six-month suspension that will keep Valenzuela grounded through May 11.
According to Sam Silverstein, Valenzuela’s last chance of getting a temporary restraining order disappeared when Dr. Neal Fisher declined to sign an affidavit that would have supported the jockey in court.
Silverstein, who was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, suggested that he was misled by Fisher.
“I talked to Dr. Fisher at least four times about the affidavit, including as recently as Saturday,” Silverstein said. “He was going to say that he never asked Pat to test (for drugs). But when I sent the affidavit over to be signed, he wouldn’t do it and said he didn’t want to get involved. He was the linchpin in our appeal. If he had told me up front how he felt, I wouldn’t have embarrassed myself. This leaves us with no place to go. We can’t do anything else.”
Attempts to reach Fisher and his associate, Dr. J.W. Donohoe, were unsuccessful Sunday.
Valenzuela, who received a 60-day suspension after he tested positive for cocaine at the end of 1989, called in sick to the Santa Anita stewards on Nov. 3, the day of the $1-million California Cup races. Fisher told the stewards that Valenzuela refused a drug test, which constituted a violation of his probation from 1989.
The stewards suspended Valenzuela indefinitely Nov. 12, then after a hearing Dec. 21 they ruled that he couldn’t ride through May 11.
Valenzuela, 28, is one of the country’s leading jockeys. He won the Kentucky Derby aboard Sunday Silence in 1989 and Daily Racing Form statistics credited him with $7.2 million in purses, 11th nationally.