06/18/2004 11:00PM

Red-hot Bejarano wins on Champali


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Rafael Bejarano has been the runaway leader atop the North American jockey standings since early this year, but until June 12, he never had won a graded stakes in his nearly two years of riding in the United States.

But after guiding Champali to a 3 1/4-length triumph Saturday in the Grade 3 at Churchill Downs, Bejarano had collected three graded stakes wins in an eight-day period. He also won the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap and Grade 3 Northern Dancer Stakes the previous Saturday.

Bejarano secured a great trip for Champali in the 16th running of the $162,160 Aristides BC, a six-furlong race that marked the richest win ever for winning owner Lloyd Madison Farms and trainer Greg Foley. After breaking sharply, Champali settled several lengths behind a fast pace contested by three horses, then sailed to the lead with a big move leaving the final turn.

Down the stretch, Champali continued to widen under steady handling, finishing in 1:09.04 over a fast track. Beau's Town, one of the dueling leaders and the lukewarm 5-2 favorite under Calvin Borel, gamely held second by a neck over Battle Won, who was followed by Mountain General, Cloud Walker, and Great Notion. The winner returned $10.20 as fourth choice in a field of six older horses.

Champali, a 4-year-old colt by the noted speed sire Glitterman, now has won nine of 17 career starts, and although he won around two turns last year, all three of his starts this year have come at 6 1/2 furlongs or shorter.

"We'll talk about what's next," said Rob Lloyd, who manages Champali for Lloyd Madison, a Wisconsin-based syndicate. "Now it gets exciting."

Champali, bred in Kentucky by McKee Stables Inc., now has earned $595,119 after banking just over $100,000 Saturday.

In earlier Saturday races, Bejarano guided Nannycam ($8) and Speedy Sonata ($5.40) to victories in allowance races on the turf; Dynaville ($3), ridden by Mark Guidry, rallied to win a $49,100, entry-level turf allowance for trainer Dale Romans; and Generous Rosi ($14.80), ridden by Borel, won the third leg of the Cutter Championships for starter-allowance horses.