08/16/2012 11:43AM

Del Mar: At midway point, it's Bejarano's title to lose

Benoit & Associates
Rafael Bejarano has won eight of the first 19 stakes run at the Del Mar meet.

DEL MAR, Calif. – With Joel Rosario, the leading rider the past three summers at Del Mar, having relocated to New York, his rivalry with Rafael Bejarano for the top spot at every meeting in Southern California has become a one-man show, and what a show Bejarano has been putting on this summer at Del Mar.

Through Wednesday's races, Bejarano was atop the jockey standings with 32 wins, six more than second-place Garrett Gomez. He also has dominated the stakes competition, winning eight of the first 19 run at this meet, and putting him on pace to surpass the season record of 12 stakes wins held jointly by Laffit Pincay Jr. (1976), Chris McCarron (1995), Gary Stevens (1997), and Corey Nakatani (1998).

Bejarano won the riding title here in 2008.

Gomez has decided to forego the extensive travel schedule he undertook in recent years, and his commitment to Southern California racing has found him vying for leading rider, even though he tends to ride fewer horses on a daily basis than Bejarano. But Gomez could make some inroads on Bejarano’s lead in the next fortnight, because Bejarano is scheduled to travel to Saratoga on Aug. 25 to ride Liaison in the Travers Stakes.

Joe Talamo is third in the standings, with 21 wins, and Martin Garcia (12) and the underrated, vastly improved Edwin Maldonado (11) round out the top five.

Del Mar rider standings

Jockey Mounts Wins Win% Earnings
Rafael Bejarano 128 32 25.00 $1,979,988
Garrett Gomez 121 26 21.48 1,514,964
Joseph Talamo 129 22 17.05 1,364,812
Martin Garcia 98 12 12.24 651,800
Edwin Maldonado 95 12 12.63 648,884
Victor Espinoza 93 9 9.67 755,810
Corey Nakatani 69 8 11.59 606,096
Juan Hernandez 67 7 10.44 287,070
Martin Pedroza 78 7 8.97 332,530
David Flores 70 6 8.57 451,807

Through Wednesday's races