05/12/2005 11:00PM

Bejarano returns as if nothing happened


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A frightening spill at Churchill Downs on Thursday did little to hamper leading jockey Rafael Bejarano's winning touch. Bejarano swept the first three races at Churchill on a late-afternoon card Friday, taking the first aboard Distress Signal ($4.80), the second atop Mean Kisser ($3.60), and the third aboard Royal Snooze ($3.80) in his first mounts back from the spill.

Bejarano, the wins leader among North American jockeys last year, had been shaken up in the third race Thursday when his mount, Independent Cat, broke down in midstretch. He was tossed to the track, but fell out of the way of his fallen mount and the trailing horses.

He missed his remaining mounts on Thursday when taken to a local hospital for observation. He was released later that afternoon.

Bejarano showed no ill effects from the fall Friday, riding with confidence and pumping his fist in celebration upon reaching the winner's circle after each winning mount.

Day delays return several days

Hall of Famer Pat Day, named to ride three horses Saturday at Churchill, said he would take off those mounts and delay his return to riding until at least Wednesday.

Day, who has been out since March following hip surgery, had hinted in recent days that he might choose to push back his return if he felt he had not regained the necessary fitness. After working horses Thursday, he reached that conclusion.

"My hip is feeling good and my air is good," he said Friday morning at Churchill. "But my legs are just a little weak. I worked a couple horses yesterday and my legs were shaking a bit. And that was just working."

Second of June preps for Pimlico Special

Friday was a relatively quiet morning at Churchill, with most of the locally based stakes horses going through routine gallops. That included Derby winner Giacomo, who had a brief jog in the backstretch chute and an easy gallop over the main track.

One of the few big-name horses out for more than a comfortable gallop was Second of June. The runner-up in the April 9 Oaklawn Handicap, Second of June breezed shortly after the track renovation break, covering six furlongs in 1:17.60 over a fast track. He is being aimed for the Grade 1 Pimlico Special May 20, trainer Bill Cesare said.

Kenneally starts strong

With stable space opening up at Churchill following Derby week, some trainers have shifted their stables here from Keeneland, including Eddie Kenneally.

Kenneally, whose starters are 4 for 7 to begin the meet, entered Friday's races in a tie for leading trainer with Bob Holthus, who has started 20 runners, and Steve Asmussen, who has raced 25 starters.

Operating a 20-horse stable, Kenneally lacks the numbers necessary to compete for leading trainer over the course of the meet. His early success is a matter of having "the right horses for the right races," he said.

Two contenders in turf allowance

Sunday's lone allowance, a $50,800 entry-level event at 1 1/16 miles on turf, shapes up as a likely two-filly matchup between Yes Beth and Brag. Yes Beth, on the board in five consecutive starts, comes off a runner-up finish in a fast allowance at Churchill during Derby Week. Brag, a former European, enters Sunday's race off a second-place finish at Keeneland.

Also on the program, trainer D. Wayne Lukas debuts Pure Symmetry for owners Bob and Beverly Lewis in race 4. A homebred 2-year-old, Pure Symmetry is a daughter of Storm Cat out of the Lewises' brilliant race mare Serena's Song.

She gives up key experience to Dance Club and Never Enough, each of whom hit the board when debuting last month.

Foster on Funny Cide's agenda

Jack Knowlton, the managing partner of Sackatoga Stable, told Churchill officials Derby week that Funny Cide was being pointed toward the Grade 1, $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill on June 18. Funny Cide, unraced since finishing 10th in the Breeders' Cup Classic last fall, has been training in New York and is nearing his seasonal debut, which is expected to come in the Pimlico Special.

Owner-breeder Bohanon dies

Louisville horse owner and breeder James D. Bohanon, 59, died Wednesday at University of Louisville Hospital.

A longtime executive in the healthcare industry, Bohanon owned and raced such talented runners as Night Silence, American Tango, American Dynasty, and Trion Georgia. He also served on the board of directors of the Kentucky Derby Museum from 1993-2002.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Barnabas Catholic Church, 3042 Hikes Lane in Louisville, followed by a private burial in Cave Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Digestive Surgery Research Laboratory, c/o the University of Louisville, Department of Surgery, Room A2K14, 550 South Jackson Street, Louisville, KY 40202, or to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, c/o PO Box 3387, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.