September 29, 2012 |
Saturday at Santa Anita was a great day for Bob Baffert, for Baffert fans, and for fans of soap opera drama. Baffert, a long-proven masterful trainer of thoroughbreds, won three of the five Grade I races, each worth $250,000, that qualified the winner for an all-expenses-paid trip and entry into the Breeders' Cup. The other two? He didn't have an entry. For Baffert, that "all-expenses-paid" gimmick is more like a bonus. His owners still get the money, but the trip from Baffert's barn to the Santa Anita track, where the Breeders' Cup will be held this year and next, is a couple of hundred yards.
February 28, 2013 |
For the first time in its 76-year history, the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap will feature two past winners — last year's Ron The Greek and 2011 champion Game On Dude. "I'm confident my horse is going to run a big race," said Bob Baffert, who trains Game On Dude. That certainty about the 6/5 favorite for the $750,000 Big 'Cap on Saturday is rooted in Game On Dude's recent performances, a 1 1/4-length win in the $250,000 Native Diver Stakes on Dec. 1 and a more-impressive 6 1/2-length triumph Feb. 3 in the $196,000 San Antonio Stakes.
November 3, 2012 |
Game On Dude didn't quite have enough game. Mucho Macho Man had insufficient macho. And so Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic, a Hollywood show taking place before 55,123 well-dressed and well-entertained people at a horse track long established in star-studded Los Angeles as the Great Race Place, got its best moment via a wonderful little old lady from Kansas. Janis Whitham's Fort Larned won the Classic, the $3 million that comes with that, and the affection of thousands of new race fans.
May 11, 2013 |
California's leading jockey, Rafael Bejarano, achieved a milestone Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park, riding to his 3,000th career victory in the first race aboard Ondine, a 3-year-old filly trained by Bob Baffert. Bejarano, 30, a native of Peru, has become the go-to rider on the Southern California horse racing circuit. "I'm really happy for this moment," he said. "A week ago somebody told me I only needed seven or eight to get to 3,000, so I was starting to get excited and preparing for it. "Nobody can get to 3,000 that easy, and I'm really honored to be here.
July 23, 2009 |
Del Mar held its annual opening day of thoroughbred horse racing Wednesday, and by the time it was over, track officials were wondering who walked under the ladder or crossed the path of a black cat. What was supposed to be a day of fun in the sun for the biggest crowd ever at Del Mar of 44,907, most of whom dressed and consumed as if it were a cocktail party, turned ugly quickly.
April 28, 2013 |
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.
September 5, 2012 |
Jockey Rafael Bejarano saved the best for last on Wednesday's final day of the 37-day Del Mar meeting. He guided Rolling Fog to a 11/4-length triumph over Know More in the Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity, giving him a record 13 stakes victories, the most by any jockey in a Del Mar meeting. "Sweet. Oh, so sweet," Bejarano said. He also won the jockey title. It was the 11th Futurity win for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, whose father and mentor, Bill Baffert Sr., died Monday at his home in Nogales, Ariz.
May 14, 2010 |
Neil Drysdale spent four years working for Hall of Fame trainer Charles Whittingham, who was known for producing lots of outstanding turf horses. Now Drysdale is on a hot streak with marathon grass runners, and he unveils his latest promising import in Saturday's Grade II $150,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on the turf at Hollywood Park. There's an early 11 a.m. first post, and the Jim Murray will be run as the eighth race on an 11-race card. Scintillo, a 5-year-old English-bred son of Fantastic Light, makes his American debut under jockey Rafael Bejarano in a race named after the Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
November 1, 2013 |
Once the Southern California hope for the Triple Crown, Goldencents emerged again spectacularly in the $1-million Dirt Mile on Friday in the opening day of the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita. The Doug O'Neill -trained horse, under a strategically perfect ride by Rafael Bejarano , started in the 11th spot of 11 starters, raced to the front under Bejarano's urging and held on well down the stretch, as Joel Rosario and Golden Ticket chased. Goldencents ended up winning by a decisive 23/4 lengths, and principal owner Glenn Sorgenstein said afterward that he had never doubted the horse, even after Goldencents won the Santa Anita Derby and then didn't measure up in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, where the horse finished 17th and fifth.
April 23, 2009 |
You get the feeling that Peruvian jockey Rafael Bejarano hasn't fully grasped the part he is about to play in the Hirsch-Stute family day at the Kentucky Derby. Bejarano, a 26-year-old on a merry-go-round of success, knows he will ride Papa Clem for owner Bo Hirsch and trainer Gary Stute on May 2. He knows the big race that takes place in front of the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of May is a moment of history to be grabbed and clung to.