09/01/2014 2:41PM

Bejarano gets his groove back

Benoit & Associates
Rafael Bejarano won the Tranquility Lake on Broken Sword on Sunday, the fourth of his six wins on the day.

DEL MAR, Calif. – When the Del Mar meet started July 17, Rafael Bejarano had not ridden a race in more than two months, owing to multiple injuries sustained in an accident on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita in May. It took him a while to find his groove, but he found it all right.

With six wins Sunday, Bejarano opened a commanding lead in the jockeys’ standings and seemed certain to win the riding title here for the third straight summer and the fourth time overall. Entering Monday’s penultimate card of the meet, Bejarano had 40 wins, 11 more than Kent Desormeaux. Ten of those wins for Bejarano came Saturday and Sunday. He won four Saturday.

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“I’m feeling better,” said Bejarano, who broke ribs and both shoulder blades in the accident at Santa Anita. “I’m more confident, healthy. And I’m riding better horses.”

Bejarano said that at the start of the meet, “I wasn’t 100 percent.”

“I was good enough to ride but not my whole self,” he said. “Now I feel good. When I was down and then came back, I’d lost a lot of my good mounts.”

Bejarano became only the fifth rider in track history to win six races in a day. Victor Espinoza holds the record, with seven wins in 10 mounts on Sept. 4, 2006. Like Bejarano, Bill Shoemaker (in 1954) and Laffit Pincay Jr. (twice, in 1976 and 1978) won six times in eight mounts on a single day. Rudy Rosales went 6 for 9 in 1969.