Ex-jockey Valenzuela pleads guilty to domestic violence

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2006, file photo, jockey Patrick Valenzuela reacts after riding Romance Is Diane to victory in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies horse race at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Valenzuela has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence for slapping his girlfriend at a Southern California restaurant. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, that the seven-time Breeders Cup winner entered the plea earlier this week, was fined nearly $900 and ordered to take domestic violence recovery classes. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

Former jockey Patrick Valenzuela has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence for slapping his girlfriend at a Southern California restaurant

VISTA, Calif. — Famed former jockey Patrick Valenzuela has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence for slapping his girlfriend at a Southern California restaurant.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the seven-time Breeders Cup winner entered the plea earlier this week, was fined nearly $900 and ordered to take domestic violence recovery classes.

Prosecutors say Valenzuela slapped his girlfriend last month for hugging a bartender at a Carlsbad restaurant.

Valenzuela told the Union-Tribune by phone Friday that he is "very saddened" by the situation and added: "I will continue to strive to be the best person I can be."

Valenzuela had more than 4,300 winning races, including the 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. He's struggled with drug and alcohol abuse and lost his California racing license. He last raced in 2016.

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