10/13/2005 11:00PM

Bejarano reaches 1,000 quickly


LEXINGTON, Ky. - At this accelerated rate, Rafael Bejarano will reach 8,000 wins sometime around his 50th birthday.

Of course, it would be ridiculous to presume that Bejarano will continue to need 3 1/2-year intervals to win in 1,000-race chunks; the risks and potential pratfalls that await any jockey logically preclude anyone from making such a leap of faith. But 1,000 wins in just a little more than three years and three months is exactly what Bejarano - perhaps the hottest young jockey in North America today - has accomplished since riding his first winner at River Downs on July 10, 2002.

Bejarano reached the 1,000-win plateau Friday by riding Northern Vacation to a 3 1/2-length victory in the first race at Keeneland. Bejarano, a 23-year-old native of Arequipa, Peru, then wasted little time starting on his next thousand by winning two more races on the Friday card.

"Wow! It's come up so quickly," said Bejarano. "I still remember riding my first winner not too long ago."

After starting at River, Bejarano soon moved to the Kentucky circuit, where in 2004 he won riding titles at every Thoroughbred track in the state. Last November, he moved his tack to New York and has become one of the top riders there, too. His current circuit essentially consists of Kentucky in the spring and fall, and New York in the summer and winter.

"I hope I can ride for another 40 years and maybe be able to catch Laffit's record," he said, referring to Laffit Pincay's all-time leading win total of 9,531.

Vicarage redeems himself in Perryville

Vicarage more than atoned for a disappointing run in the Kentucky Cup Sprint by breaking out with a 10-length victory Friday in the

Grade 3, $200,000 Perryville Stakes before 16,743 sun-splashed fans at Keeneland.

John Velazquez was aboard for his lone mount of the day when Vicarage went up to challenge the early leader, Diligent Prospect, down the backstretch before proving easily best. Straight Line finished second, 2 1/2 lengths before late-closing Social Probation, while Diligent Prospect, the 8-5 favorite, faded to last in a field of eight 3-year-olds.

Vicarage, a Dogwood Stable colt who ran fourth as the favorite in the Sept. 17 Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway Park in his previous start, returned $11 as third choice. He finished the Beard Course distance of seven furlongs and 184 feet in 1:26.06 over a fast track.

"When he comes up and runs his big race, he can fire with anyone," said Velazquez. "I was glad he showed up today."

Vicar, by Vicarage, is trained by Todd Pletcher, the North American leader in earnings this year. The victory was the fourth in 14 career starts.

In earlier races, Fort Prado ($3.80) wore down Gin and Sin to win a $50,990 turf allowance, and John Good, a longtime former assistant to Bob Baffert, saddled the biggest winner of his nascent training career when Darn That Girl ($15.80) won a $45,370 allowance.

The pick six, which had carried over every day since the meet opened Oct. 7, finally was won Friday, with each winning $2 ticket returning $26,773.20. Five of six winners paid $239.

Little Cliff comes through

Longtime chart-caller and racing writer Cliff Guilliams was bursting with pride Thursday after Little Cliff drew clear to win the fifth race, a maiden special weight race at 1 1/16 miles. Little Cliff, a 2-year-old colt owned by Robert LaPenta and trained by Nick Zito, was named for Guilliams, a former Daily Racing Form employee who now works for Equibase and the Evansville Press-Courier.

Little Cliff is by Gulch, who also sired The Cliff's Edge, a standout 3-year-old of 2004 for LaPenta and Zito. The Cliff's Edge was named partly for Guilliams and partly as a clever take on his sire's name.

- John Asher, vice president of racing communications at Churchill, will be honored Nov. 11 at the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners annual awards dinner as the winner of the 2005 Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year. For tickets or more information, call (502) 458-5820.

- Churchill announced Friday that it will host "Kentucky Derby Legends Day" on Nov. 19, with autograph sessions and tributes to owners, trainers, and jockeys who have won the Derby. The first 7,500 paying customers will receive a special commemorative print created by Daily Racing Form artist Peb.