Agent Jay Fedor said Saturday afternoon that he will represent perennial Arlington Park riding champion Jose Valdivia Jr. at the 2019 Oaklawn meeting that begins Jan. 25.
Valdivia, 43, hasn't ridden regularly in Hot Springs since 1997 when he won 18 races, including the $50,000 Hot Springs Stakes aboard Virtuous Regent for trainer Randy Morse. Valdivia rode regularly that year for the late Bob Holthus, Oaklawn's all-time leading trainer.
Valdivia's scored his biggest Oaklawn victory to date aboard Buzzards Bay in the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) in 2006.
Fedor was scheduled to represent Luis Contreras this year at Oaklawn, but the agent said he isn't sure the jockey will ride in Hot Springs because of “personal issues.” Contreras won 15 races at the 2018 Oaklawn meeting.
“He's tried to get me before; I've tried to get him before,” Fedor said of Valdivia. “It's been an ongoing process for a few years. With Luis and his situation, I was trying to find somebody.”
Valdivia has ridden 1,815 career North American winners since 1994, according to Equibase, racing's official data gathering organization. He won the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) in 2001 aboard Val Royal and the Belmont Stakes (G1) – the final leg of racing's Triple Crown – in 2011 aboard Ruler On Ice.
“It's funny, I've never worked for Jay, but I've known him for a long time,” Valdivia said Saturday afternoon. “I always felt that if I had the opportunity to work together with him, it would be great. I can see the kind of job that he's done with his past riders, you know (Corey) Nakatani, Gary Stevens, coming in. I'm excited. Haven't been to Oaklawn in a while, since I rode for Mr. Bob Holthus – may he rest in peace.”
Valdivia has been riding recently at Golden Gate Fields in northern California for trainer Larry Rivelli, but he had been wintering at Fair Grounds. Rivelli is Arlington's perennial leading trainer.
Fedor also represents Stewart Elliott, best known as the rider of champion Smarty Jones.
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