11/11/2016 1:46PM

Bejarano to miss five cards with injury, suspension

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Rafael Bejarano is believed to have a soft-tissue injury to his right hand.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Rafael Bejarano has won riding titles at six of the last seven meetings conducted at Del Mar, but his chances of capturing the title at the fall meet that opened Friday were dealt a setback owing to a hand injury and a suspension, which effectively remove him from the first five days of the meet.

Bejarano’s agent, Tora Yamaguchi, on Friday morning said that Bejarano would miss racing on both opening-day Friday plus Saturday to have his right hand looked at by a specialist. According to Yamaguchi, Bejarano worked horses Tuesday at Santa Anita, but was having trouble with his right hand Wednesday morning. By Friday morning, the decision was made to have his hand examined. It is believed to be a soft-tissue injury, Yamaguchi said.

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Bejarano already was scheduled to miss racing Sunday and next Thursday and Friday owing to a three-day suspension. So, expectations are for Bejarano to begin riding again Saturday, Nov. 19.

“We don’t think it’s any big deal,” Yamaguchi said of the injury. “We just want to make sure it gets better before it gets worse. And with Rafael having to serve the days beginning Sunday, it just made sense to take the first two days off and get it checked out.”

Bejarano has been a powerhouse at Del Mar in recent years, with seven titles, six during the summer meeting. He tied for the title here during this past summer with Flavien Prat and won titles outright at both the summer and fall meetings in 2015.

Bejarano also won the summer meet titles in 2008, 2012, 2013, and 2014. He did not vie for the title at the fall meeting in 2014 owing to injury.