Patrick Valenzuela is the first to admit the balance is out of whack. Of his 39 wins at the winter-spring meeting through Sunday, only three have come in stakes.
The 39 wins are enough to give Valenzuela, 48, a secure position in third place in the standings behind Rafael Bejarano and Joel Rosario, who are tied with 63 wins and have won 12 and nine stakes, respectively, at the meeting.
There is ample time before the meeting ends on April 17 for Valenzuela to improve his win total in stakes. Saturday, in the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes for 3-year-olds, he rides Jakesam for the first time.
Wednesday, Valenzuela was aboard Jakesam for a three-furlong workout in 35 seconds.
"He had his ears pricked the whole way," Valenzuela said. "He's a big, long-striding colt."
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Bourque Goldstein Thoroughbreds, Jakesam has won 2 of 7 starts, with wins coming over a mile and 1 1/16 miles. In two starts this year, Jakesam was second to Positive Response in the California Derby and to Silver Medallion in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby, both at Golden Gate Fields.
"He ran a big race up there," Valenzuela said, reviewing Jakesam's record. "Hopefully, we can get lucky and we can stretch him out to a mile and a quarter."
Jakesam will be an outsider in a San Felipe field of 10 that includes the Grade 1 winners Comma to the Top and Jaycito.
Jakesam could give Valenzuela his first stakes win since Quick Enough won the Sensational Star Handicap on Feb. 27. Last Saturday, Valenzuela didn't have a mount in any of the day's four stakes, including three Grade 1 races.
"It's always a stinger to be in the room for any race,"' Valenzuela said.
Valenzuela, who won the 1989 Kentucky Derby on Sunday Silence, returned to riding in California last July after losing his license in the state for a substance abuse violation of his conditional license in late 2007. In the interim, he rode in Louisiana and New Mexico. Since returning, he has been among the leading riders in Southern California.
"I've been blessed since I've been back," he said. "I'd like to get more rides in the classic races and the stakes leading to the Derby and Breeders' Cup."