04/27/2013 2:22PM

Hollywood Park: Saint Loup scores first U.S. win


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Saint Loup moved closer to a stakes appearance in Southern California with an eventful victory in an optional claimer over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park on Friday.

After the race, the idea of a stakes was mentioned by a representative of co-owner Michael Whieldon, but not with any urgency to do so in the near future.

Bloodstock agent Brad Martin, representing Whieldon, said that another allowance race would be preferred before a stakes.

"I'd like to run have him go through his conditions first," Martin said.

Another allowance race could jeopardize Saint Loup's chances of starting in a race such as the $200,000 Charles Whittingham Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf on June 8.

Saint Loup ($3.20) was timed in 2:01.14. Ridden by the red-hot Rafael Bejarano, who won four races from as many mounts on Friday, Saint Loup raced on the rail for much of the race.
Bejarano had to wait for racing room entering the stretch before Saint Loup took the lead. He may have been in front too long, and was challenged late by Ain before winning by a neck.

Trained by Julio Canani, Saint Loup has won 2 of 11 starts and $119,460. Last year in France, Saint Loup was second in the Group 3 Prix La Force to eventual French Derby winner Saonois. Friday's win was Saint Loup's fourth start in the United States and the first victory in this country for the 4-year-old colt by the Gone West stallion Zamindar.

Bejarano was booked on five mounts on Friday, but rode and won aboard four after Trojenna was scratched at the gate of a maiden race after sustaining a cut, stewards said.

Bejarano, who led all riders at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting earlier this year, won the fourth race on Include the Cat ($4), the fifth on Master Chef ($5) and the last race on Apollo Ten ($8.40).

Bejarano will be absent from Hollywood Park next Saturday. He is booked to ride Overanalyze in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.