03/13/2004 1:00AM

Bejarano wins record seven races


Jockey Rafael Bejarano closed in on a record setting leading riding title at Turfway Friday evening, winning seven of the tracks 12 races. His seven victories established a single-day record, surpassing the mark of six wins, shared by several riders but first set by Kris Prather in 2001, according to track officials.

Entering Saturday's card - with nearly three weeks remaining in the meet - he has 109 wins at Turfway for the Winter/Spring Meet, two behind the record of 111 winners established last year by Jason Lumpkins. Bejarano leads all jockeys nationwide with 111 wins in 2004.

One of the few races Bejarano did not win was the featured $50,000 Wintergreen Stakes. Riding Glitter Act, the 4-5 favorite, Bejarano found his mount pressured early by Bonay, and the frontrunners yielded in the stretch.

Strike Rate took advantage of Glitter Act and Bony setting fast early fractions of 22.59 seconds and 46.03 in the one-mile Wintergreen, rallied through on the inside, and outfinished River Flower by a nose. Mariaworth closed to finish third, 1.25 lengths behind the top pair. Glitter Act faded to fourth. Playa Maya, Page Me Later, Secondary School were scratched.

Strike Rate raced a mile on a fast track in 1:36.87 under Tony D'Amico and paid $14. The Wintergreen was her third consecutive win, and her first stakes triumph. She has earned over $90,000 in 10 starts for owners Bill Graves and Dennis Lynch and trainer Dale Romans since being claimed for $50,000 in November of 2002.