05/14/2013 2:50PM

Hollywood Park notes: Gomez appreciates Bejarano feat

Benoit & Associates
Rafael Bejarano acknowledges his 3,000th winning mount.

Hollywood Park: Gomez appreciates Bejarano feat

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Rafael Bejarano, the leading rider at Hollywood Park, won the 3,000th race of his career last Saturday, and the milestone was familiar to veteran jockey Garrett Gomez.

Gomez, 41, won the 3,000th race of his career at Santa Anita in October 2008. Through Tuesday, Gomez had 3,741 career wins and said it was easy to appreciate the accomplishments of the 30-year-old Bejarano.

“I think when you get to 3,000 it means more,” he said. “You’ve been at it longer. Things have to go right.”

Gomez said Bejarano is a rider the admires, but also someone who is the subject of a little jockeys’ room banter in the rare sport where competitors share the same locker room.

“He’s a good kid,” Gomez said. “I have a lot of respect for him. I give him a hard time, but he knows it’s all fun.”

Through Sunday, Bejarano leads all riders at the current meeting with 18 wins. Gomez ranks seventh with five wins.

Espinoza closing in on mark

Bejarano will be joined in the 3,000-winner club in the near future by veteran rider Victor Espinoza, who is well known for winning the 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes on War Emblem.

Going into Thursday’s program at Hollywood Park, Espinoza, 40, has 2,994 wins. Espinoza has four mounts on Thursday’s eight-race program, including Llandudno in an optional claimer over six furlongs on turf, the day’s leading race.