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Jockey Rafael Bejarano cleans up at Hollywood Park

He wins three of the four biggest stakes Saturday, including the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes riding Surfcup for trainer Bob Baffert. On Friday he won four races.

April 28, 2013|By Eric Sondheimer
  • Donald R. Dizney's Surfcup and jockey Rafael Bejarano, left, hold off Fighting Hussar with jockey Victor Espinoza, right, to win the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes horse race at Betfair Hollywood Park on Saturday.
Donald R. Dizney's Surfcup and jockey Rafael Bejarano, left, hold… (Benoit Photo / Associated…)

The jockey colony at Hollywood Park might want to break out a bottle of champagne to celebrate the absence of Rafael Bejarano next week when he leaves town to ride Midnight Lucky in the Kentucky Oaks and Overanalyze in the Kentucky Derby. That means somebody else will get a chance to ride a winner.

The red-hot Bejarano won four races in four mounts Friday. Then, on California Gold Rush Day on Saturday, he won three of the four richest stakes, including the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes aboard Surfcup for trainer Bob Baffert.

Surfcup, a 3-year-old son of Unusual Heat, rolled to a half-length victory over Fighting Hussar. The even-money favorite, Tiz A Minister, was third in the 1 1/8-mile race.

Just last week, the 30-year-old Bejarano won his fourth Santa Anita riding title. Now he's closing in on 3,000 career victories (he has 2,989), and everything seems to be going right.

"My agent has been doing a good job," he said. "We're picking the right horses."

It gives Bejarano 19 career victories in the yearly California Gold Rush event that features California-bred horses. Only jockey Victor Espinoza, with 21 wins, has more.

Bejarano teamed with trainer Jerry Hollendorfer to win the $250,000 Melair Stakes aboard Doinghardtimeagain. She ran down pacesetter Sweet Marini to win by 1 1/4 lengths at 1 1/16 miles.

In the $125,000 Tiznow Stakes, Kate's Event, guided by Bejarano and trained by Hollendorfer, rallied along the rail to defeat Rock Me Baby by a half-length in the 7 1/2 -furlong race.

The only one hotter than Bejarano might be Hall of Famer Hollendorfer. He picked up his third victory Saturday when Corey Nakatani rode Curvy Cat to a one-length victory over Ismene in the $125,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs.

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