10/29/2011 8:01PM

Santa Anita: Bejarano completes five-win day with Unzip Me in Cal Cup Distaff


ARCADIA, Calif. - The California Cup is intended as a showcase for the state’s top Thoroughbreds. Saturday, it was just as much a showcase of top jockey Rafael Bejarano.

Bejarano rode five winners on the nine-race program, including four stakes. He won the day’s final race on Unzip Me in the $125,000 California Cup Distaff.

Earlier on the program, Bejarano won the $100,000 Juvenile Fillies with Starlight Magic, the $100,000 Juvenile with Rousing Sermon, a maiden race with Mandated Bliss, and the $175,000 Classic with Norvsky.

He credited his agent, Joe Ferrer, with finding the right mounts.

“We make a good team,” Bejarano said. “It was a fun day.”

Unzip Me ($4.40) won the ninth turf sprint stakes of her career in the Cal Cup Distaff. Third on the hillside, Unzip Me closed with a wide rush through the stretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths over West Ruler, a 7-1 shot. Salty Sarah, a 16-1 outsider, led early through a quick pace of 21.31 and 43.50 seconds, and held third in the field of 11.

The victory gave trainer Marty Jones his third win of the day, and first in a stakes, an accomplishment overshadowed by Bejarano’s day. Jones was full of praise for Bejarano’s ride. “He got her in a nice comfortable spot, a big field with speed.” Jones said.

Unzip Me was timed in 1:12.53. Owned by a partnership, Unzip Me won the 2009 Cal Cup Distaff but did not start in the race last year. She was third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs last fall. The same race next Saturday was considered for Unzip Me this year, but the partners and Jones opted to stay in California.

“It came down to the wire,” Jones said of the decision. “We knew what we were getting here. Shipping is kind of hard on her.”

A 5-year-old mare by City Zip, Unzip Me has won 13 of 23 starts and $893,228. The Cal Cup Distaff was her fourth stakes win of the year, a list led by the Grade 3 Monrovia Stakes here in January.