04/09/2006 11:00PM

Bejarano invasion results in six-win day

Email

ARCADIA, Calif. - At 5:43 p.m. Saturday, Rafael Bejarano brought Urban King through the stretch of a $40,000 claimer on turf to win his sixth race of the day at Santa Anita.

Getting through the stretch seemed easy for Bejarano throughout the day. It was getting back to the jockeys' room after the last race that was the hard part.

After Urban King's win in the day's 11th race, Bejarano, 24, needed 30 minutes to negotiate his way from the racetrack to the jockeys' room. Along the way, Bejarano signed autographs on about 75 giveaway T-shirts, 20 programs, shook hands with scores of fans of all ages, and was the subject of dozens of photographs from cell phones and pocket cameras.

At one point, 15 minutes after the 11th race, a friendly security guard got a call on his walkie-talkie urging Bejarano back to the room. The guard and the jockey started walking and made it about 30 yards before Bejarano was surrounded by another crowd of well-wishers. By then, Bejarano was at least in sight of the jockey's room.

"Rafael!" yelled a husky guy in a T-shirt. "Can I just shake your hand? I see you all over the country. When are you going to come out here? We want you."

Bejarano, who is riding in Kentucky, seemed as comfortable with the crowd as he was on the racetrack.

Bejarano won the first race with Hockey the General ($4), the fifth with Mr. Sekiguchi ($3.80), and the last four races on Moonlit Habit ($17.60), Silent Name ($14.40), Julep Cup ($10.20), and Urban King ($6). The $1 pick four combining those last four winners returned $1,314.70.

Hockey the General, Mr. Sekiguchi, and Julep Cup are trained by Bob Baffert.

The milestone was one shy of the track record of seven wins in a single day, set by Laffit Pincay Jr. in 1987.

"When you win big races at Santa Anita, that's big business," Bejarano said through an interpreter. "These are good riders. This is one of the greatest tracks in the world."

Bejarano came to California on Saturday to ride Point Determined in the Santa Anita Derby. Point Determined, trained by Baffert, finished second to Brother Derek by 3 1/4 lengths.

"I would hope to ride him back in the Kentucky Derby," Bejarano said. "He's going to be a good horse, and the distance will help him."

Bejarano's big day will not lead to a quick change of address. When asked if he was tempted to move to California, he said it was not in his immediate plans. "Maybe next year," he said. "I'm thinking about it."

The fans who stuck around after the last race on Saturday would prefer he'd take the next flight.

Mr. Sekiguchi gets over important first hump

Baffert's 3-year-old division includes much more than a few Kentucky Derby prospects.

Over the weekend, as Bob and John and Point Determined earned trips to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6, two colts who will not be in the Triple Crown ran exciting races.

Saturday, Mr. Sekiguchi, purchased for $8 million as a yearling in 2004, won a maiden race at Santa Anita in his second start. In New York, Baffert won the Bay Shore Stakes with Too Much Bling. In addition, Da Stoops, a two-time stakes winner at Santa Anita earlier at this meeting, finished second in Sunday's San Pedro Stakes.

The win by Mr. Sekiguchi was something of a relief. Yearlings who cost that much are expected to perform, and Mr. Sekiguchi finished a tiring second in his debut at 5 1/2 furlongs on Feb. 18.

Saturday, Mr. Sekiguchi rallied on the inside under Bejarano to win by three-quarters of a length over promising first-time starter Ace High Hand. Mr. Sekiguchi finished 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.49 and earned an 83 Beyer Figure.

"He's slowly coming around," said Baffert. "He showed a lot of heart and determination to come up the rail."

Baffert compared the start of Mr. Sekiguchi's career to that of Forestry, who won 7 of 11 starts in a brief career in 1999. Forestry won three stakes that year, the first coming at Santa Anita in the spring.

Mr. Sekiguchi "has a lot of quality to him," he said. "Forestry was the same way. It took him forever to come around."

Mr. Sekiguchi is owned by Fusao Sekiguchi, who owned 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.

When asked where Mr. Sekiguchi would be in the 3-year-old division in three months, Baffert said, "I think he's going to go long."

Baffert's 3-year-old team is missing one accomplished runner. Baffert said that Skydiving, the runner-up in the WinStar Derby at Sunland Park on April 1, has been sent to trainer Paul McGee in Kentucky. B. Wayne Hughes owns Skydiving.

Hasty Kris calls it a career at age 9

Hasty Kris, a two-time stakes winner, has been retired after winning 11 of 52 starts and $657,622, trainer John Sadler said.

Owned by CRK Stables, Hasty Kris, 9, made his final start on March 4, finishing seventh in an optional claimer at seven furlongs. He was entered for $62,500 in that race.

Sadler said that Hasty Kris has been sent to Legacy Ranch in northern California.

"We had a party for him at the barn," Sadler said. "We said we'd never run him cheap."

Hasty Kris's final win came in an optional claimer at Hollywood Park last November, when he ran for $80,000. His biggest win came in the Grade 2 San Carlos Handicap at Santa Anita in February 2005.

Daily double payoff a record low

Behaving Badly is bound for the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on May 6 after winning the $93,728 Bug Brush Stakes on Friday.

The victory was the second half of the lowest-paying daily double in track history.

First-race winner Gold Bankers Gold and Behaving Badly each paid $2.80 to win, resulting in a $2 daily double of $3.80. The previous low of $4.40 occurred twice, in 1996 and 2002.

Trained by Baffert for Hal and Patti Earnhardt, Behaving Badly stalked the pace for the first half-mile before drawing off to win by 2 3/4 lengths over Leave Me Alone. Behaving Badly ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.96.