04/27/2013 9:00PM

Hollywood Park: Bejarano completes three-win stakes day on Surfcup in Snow Chief

Benoit & Associates
Rafael Bejarano wins his third stakes of the day aboard Surfcup in the $300,000 Snow Chief.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Jockey Rafael Bejarano is closing in on his 3,000th career win in a hurry.

Saturday, he won three races at Betfair Hollywood Park, all stakes on California Gold Rush Day, including the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes with Surfcup.

Through Saturday, Bejarano, 30, has 2,989 wins. He won four races at Hollywood Park on Friday to take an early lead in the  spring-summer meeting that began on Thursday.

For Bejarano, the win by Surfcup was preceded by stakes victories on Saturday aboard Doinghardtimeagain in the $245,000 Melair Stakes and Kate’s Event in the $125,250 Tiznow Stakes. Those wins were for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Bejarano rode Surfcup for trainer Bob Baffert and owner-breeder Don Dizney.

Surfcup won the Snow Chief Stakes in a minor upset.

Sent off as the 5-1 third choice, Surfcup ($12) was near the front throughout the race over 1 1/8 miles for California-bred 3-year-olds.  Surfcup stalked pacesetter Bobo for the first six furlongs, took a narrow lead in early stretch, and held off a sustained threat from Fighting Hussar to win by a half-length in 1:50.80.

Bobo set a modest pace of 24.24 and 48.14 seconds, closely followed by Surfcup, who raced within a length of the lead.

“I thought he’d show a lot of speed,” Bejarano said. “When I saw [Bobo] go for the lead, I put him right behind. He loved [the track] and he felt comfortable the whole way, I thought. My horse was running at the end.”

Fighting Hussar, a 6-1 chance, finished four lengths in front of Tiz a Minister, the 11-10 favorite in the field of eight. Tiz a Minister had been mentioned as a possible runner in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, but trainer Paul Aguirre strongly downplayed the possibility of a quick turnaround after the Snow Chief Stakes.

Surfcup, a colt by Unusual Heat, has won 3 of 6 starts and $275,800. He was third in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes at Santa Anita in January, won an allowance race for California-breds over a mile on turf on March 1, and was a troubled fourth in the Echo Eddie Stakes for statebred sprinters on March 30.

Correction: A headline on a previous version of this article misstated the jockey who won three California Gold Rush stakes. It was Rafael Bejarano, not Corey Nakatani.

scot More than 1 year ago
Tiz a minister is a future claiming horse, lets talk next year....
Dave More than 1 year ago
3-5 on a horse that needs the race to fall apart to win. He simply puts himself way too far back. I expect to see him on the turf this summer.
Robynrokn More than 1 year ago
Ok so which is it Corey Bejarano or Rafael Nakatani. Are we sure Surfcup won the SnowChief or did Sugarloaf run away with the Sky Warrior?
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Yeah, Corey was wearing Rafael's "R.B." boots, as seen in the photo. C'mon, DRF editors!
Michael More than 1 year ago
what kind of nonsense is this?
Mike B More than 1 year ago
In biggest news of day, Nakatani rode disguised as Bejarano .....