INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Dave Samuel, a steward at Hollywood Park, said yesterday that it is unlikely Pat Valenzuela could be reinstated in time to ride Best Pal, one of the favorites in Sunday's $1 million Hollywood Futurity.
If Valenzuela is unable to ride, trainer Ian Jory said that Kent Desormeaux or Laffit Pincay would ride Best Pal, who finished sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Belmont Park after winning the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita and the Del Mar Futurity.
With Valenzuela suspended indefinitely, Desormeaux was aboard Best Pal yesterday, as the 2-year-old gelding worked five furlongs in a sharp 1 minute, 4/5 seconds. To ride Best Pal, Desormeaux would have to be released by trainer Darrell Vienna from his commitment to ride Deputy Meister.
Pincay, who hasn't ridden since he suffered a broken left collarbone in a spill Nov. 8, is expected to return to action this weekend.
Valenzuela, suspended for 60 days a year ago after testing positive for cocaine, called in sick on Nov. 3, and the stewards have not been satisfied with his responses to their inquiries into his condition since then.
Samuel said Valenzuela is scheduled to undergo a doctor's examination tomorrow, but the result could not be sent to the California Horse Racing Board offices in Sacramento and be reviewed in time for him to ride Sunday. Jory is required to name a rider for Best Pal when entries are drawn for the Futurity tomorrow.