05/11/2013 4:36PM

Hollywood Park: Bejarano rides 3,000th winner

Email
Benoit & Associates
Rafael Bejarano signals his milestone victory at Betfair Hollywood Park on Saturday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Jockey Rafael Bejarano won the 3,000th race of his career in Saturday’s first race at Betfair Hollywood Park aboard the promising 3-year-old filly Ondine.

Bejarano, 30, had one victory on Friday to move within a winner of his 3,000th. He reached the milestone with his first mount on Saturday.

Ondine was heavily favored in a field of five.

Bejarano had Ondine in second for the first six furlongs of the race over 1 1/16 miles. He moved the filly alongside pacesetter Black Witch on the final turn and took the lead in the final furlong, winning by 3 3/4 lengths in 1:45.43.

“I feel happy right now,” Bejarano said after leaving the winner’s circle. “I was in the perfect position following the speed. I was waiting for the moment to make the right move.”

Bejarano accented the win with a fist pump. He said he was made aware he was nearing the milestone in late April when he was within 10 of 3,000. Bejarano began the racing week at Hollywood Park on Thursday with 2,996 career wins. He had two wins on Thursday and one on Friday.

A native of Peru, Bejarano began riding in the United States in 2002 and has won 18 riding titles at seven racetracks in this country. He has won at least 200 races annually since 2003, and had his best season in 2010 when he won 310 races.

Ondine ($3) and Black Witch, who finished second, are trained by Bob Baffert. Owned by Peachtree Stable, Ondine is by Medaglia d’Oro and has won her last two starts.