09/30/2012 5:59PM

Santa Anita: Not even spill slows down Bejarano

Benoit & Associates
Jockey Rafael Bejarano and trainer Bob Baffert combined to win three Grade 1 stakes on Saturday's card at Santa Anita, including the Awesome Again with Game On Dude.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The first thing that jockey Rafael Bejarano wanted to do after he was unseated in a spill at Santa Anita on Friday was get back to work.

“I told the guys, ‘I’m fine,’ ” he said on Sunday, recalling his conversation with ambulance personnel. “I could have kept riding.”

Bejarano was not injured. He missed his final three rides on Friday and went home to rest. Saturday morning, he was back at the track for workouts. That afternoon, he showed why he is the leading rider in Southern California.

Bejarano won four stakes, including three Grade 1 races on horses trained by Bob Baffert.

Bejarano won the Chandelier Stakes with the undefeated Executiveprivilege, the FrontRunner Stakes with Power Broker, and the Awesome Again Stakes on Game On Dude. All three are trained by Baffert and have excellent chances to win Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita on Nov. 2-3.

Sunday morning, there was no time to sleep in. Bejarano was back at the track, riding workouts for Baffert.

“I felt okay, much better this morning,” he said between workouts.

Bejarano, 30, has emerged as the dominant rider on this circuit, especially since Joel Rosario decamped to New York in July. After finishing second to Rosario in the jockey standings at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting earlier this year, Bejarano won titles at the Betfair Hollywood Park spring-summer and Del Mar meetings.

Bejarano has won 12 riding titles at Southern California tracks since relocating to this circuit from Kentucky in late 2007 at the insistence of the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel.

A close alliance with Baffert in recent months has secured Bejarano a position among the nation’s leading riders in earnings. Through Saturday, Bejarano’s mounts had earned $13.4 million, leaving him ranked fourth in the nation behind Ramon Dominguez ($18.6 million), Javier Castellano ($17 million), and John Velazquez ($14.3 million).

Saturday’s three Grade 1 wins was a career-first for Bejarano and the first time he had won three graded stakes on the same day in more than five years. Bejarano won three graded stakes on the undercard of the2007 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Next Saturday, he will be at Hoosier Park in Indiana to ride four stakes on Baffert-trained runners, including Fed Biz in the $500,000 Indiana Derby. Bejarano will ride at Santa Anita on Friday and Sunday, according to his agent, Joe Ferrer.

Bejarano has won three Breeders’ Cup races in his career, most recently the Juvenile Sprint last year with the Baffert-trained Secret Circle.

Considering his accomplishments on Saturday, coming away from the forthcoming Breeders’ Cup without a win, or more, would be a massive disappointment.

Bejarano had worked Game On Dude frequently in the last year, but Chantal Sutherland had the mount for the last 18 months, a span that included a win in the 2011 Santa Anita Handicap and 2012 Hollywood Gold Cup, but seconds in the 2011 BC Classic and Pacific Classic on Aug. 26.

After the Pacific Classic,  Baffert went with Bejarano for the Awesome Again Stakes, the first time that Bejarano had ridden Game On Dude since an allowance race win in January 2011.

“I was excited to get on the horse,” he said.

Game On Dude is expected to be favored in the BC Classic on Nov. 3.

Power Broker joined the list of contenders for the BC Juvenile on Nov. 3 with his win on Saturday. On the preceding day, Executiveprivilege will be favored to win the BC Juvenile Fillies.

Bejarano described Power Broker’s win in the FrontRunner as his “biggest surprise” of the day.

Power Broker was a stakes-placed maiden before the FrontRunner, in the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf at Del Mar on Sept. 5, and won the FrontRunner over 1 1/16 miles on the main track by 6 1/2 lengths.

“I didn’t think he’d run like that,” Bejarano said. “I think he likes this track. I’m happy.”

After the events of Friday and Saturday, Bejarano had a right to be.


paul cervenan More than 1 year ago
I just wish that STUPID Santa Anita would give updates on jockeys injured/ or that may be injured ater a fall like Rafe took in Race 5 on Friday afternoon. Bettors, handicappers, not even Trevor Denman could give us (your betting public, Customers) an update on that fall in the 5th on Friday?There was nothing in DRF Friday night or Saturday morning......Am I going to get into my car, put $60,00 worth of fuel in it, pay $10.00 admission, get a form, handicap the races, put out all that effort.........and find out that THE LEADING JOCKEY at Santa Anita is OFF all his mounts on Saturday? I did not attend SA on Saturday! Santa Anita Marketing and Administration are FOOLS. Stupid beyond reproach. And lets clean up that background microphone that at times over powers Trever's voice......this is suppose to be a family program, yet all you hear out of it is X-rated cuss words of drunk and potty mouthed fans. Come on Santa Anita........what ever happened to TOP drawer?
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
To make matters worse no one at SA ever told us why PVal was off his mounts sat and sun. Racing Nation indicated some sort of knee problem for PVal. I then ready today, a day later that PVal is riding the third race at Delaware. He is on the one horse. Evidently PVal used the excuse of knee problem to get a head start heading east to Delaware. I found no mention of this in any Daily Racing form articles. The betting public is the last to know anything pertaining to horses. Yes, I suppose you have to fill up the car and drive out to the track in the mornings and talk to backstretch grooms for info.
Standiforx More than 1 year ago
Had you been following Santa Anita or Bob Baffert on Twitter you would have known that Bejarano did not even go to the hospital on Friday after the spill. Furthermore, you would actually change your mind about going to the track just because you don't know whether or not a jockey is going to be off his mounts? Rafael is a great jockey, but just about anyone in the colony could have ridden most of his winners on Saturday with the same result (and probably a better payoff). I'll admit there are few things that Santa Anita does that irritates me, but I'm not sure your complaints have merit.
JDS0810 More than 1 year ago
The article clearly stated that he rode on Saturday. Did you read that he won three Grade 1's? I am not sure what you are saying. All he took off was the final three races on Friday. He was working horses Sat am as well. Read son... "Bejarano was not injured. He missed his final three rides on Friday and went home to rest. Saturday morning, he was back at the track for workouts. That afternoon, he showed why he is the leading rider in Southern California. Bejarano won four stakes, including three Grade 1 races on horses trained by Bob Baffert."
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
I think trainers make the decision they fill will give them a win or a check. Bottom line they want to win, and so do we. Jockeys need to realize that a trainer has a right to switch riders plain and simple. That is the business. No room for hurt feelings. BTW do my eyes deceive me Pat Val is riding at Delaware. I noticed he was off his mounts at Santa Anita and wondered if he slipped up again. Looks like he picked up his tack and headed east. Delaware Park at the end of season? Hum
David More than 1 year ago
A jockey that rode in the Pacific Classic said Chantal is stupid and didn't know what she was thinking when she made an early move at the 5/8. If you read the article, Bejarano worked out Game on Dude frequently in the last year. The Dubai Cup earlier this year, Bejarano and Chantal went and rode on Saturday. Next day, Bejarano was back at Santa Anita and rode 3 winners. Chantal was no where to be seen probably had plans to vacation in Dubai, while Bejarano is all business. If Chantal was nasty looking you all wouldn't be pulling for her. Perhaps, she a spoiled princess and gets outworked in the mornings, if she even shows up. There has to be a reason why she doesn't get mounts. Probably more into photo shoots, etc. Bejarano works hard, "Sunday morning, there was no time to sleep in. Bejarano was back at the track, riding workouts for Baffert." and shows up to ride on a Sunday when in Dubai a day early. Bejarano is a hard worker. Martin didn't show up to morning workouts for Bob and decided to depart, until he acknowledged it wasn't a good move and called Bob back to help. Nothing wrong to give the mount to a hard working Bejarano.
A Yahoo! User More than 1 year ago
Well said David.
Patricia Houser More than 1 year ago
Total bummer for Chantal. Again. (Remember Mine That Bird?) Still if you can get Borel at CD or Rafa at Santa Anita, that's pretty hard to turn down. Hope she does great this year. Pulling for Martin Garcia, too. Sucks to get Bafferted.
A Yahoo! User More than 1 year ago
Everybody is just defending her because she's pretty, has a nice body, and took her clothes off on top of a horse in a photo shoot. Yes she's pretty but she should be getting mounts based on her riding skills, not her beauty.
Rob Nicassio More than 1 year ago
You guys have no clue if you think Bejarano is not a great rider! Don't you think maybe the owner of Game on Dude wanted to switch after Chantel dropped the rein in the Pacific Classic?
Guy More than 1 year ago
Chantal was off the dude whether she dropped the rein or not.
Rob Nicassio More than 1 year ago
Not if Chantel wins that race
Albert More than 1 year ago
Big nose Bejarano was second fiddle when Rosario was here. I don't consider him a great rider. He is decent rider that just rides favorites. And as for Game on Dude. He won't win the BC Classic that is a given, no matter his track record at SA. He couldn't even beat Dullahan. What a joke. This horse is only given credit cause his trainer is butcher bob
Guy More than 1 year ago
Albert....you should stop sniffing glue. It's bad for ya fella.
David More than 1 year ago
You're in idiot.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
wow , how cool calling someone names. And Dullahan must be a terrible horse......3 for 3 on synthetics all Grade 1 wins.........
HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
You know Rafael Bejarano and Joel Rosario were like taking turns you know if you remember. It was like Bejarano 2 titles and Rosario 3 in 2009 and 2010. Rosario won 4 titles in 2011 but Bejarano won one which was the SA fall meet. This year, Rosario only won one which was the SA Winter/Spring. You know when Rosario was riding the Hollywood Park Spring/Summer he had gone off to a slow start and Bejarano had already pulled away by a lot so Rosario wasn’t going to win the Hollywood Park meet anyway even if he had stood all of Hollywood. Though I think both riders are quite talented but I always prefered Bejarano’s style over Rosario’s. Maybe because he’s more expericenced than him but always did. Not knocking Rosario’s talent though. I know this maybe an interesting thought but you know when Rosario won most of the titles typically would be 3 in 2009 and 2010 while in 2011 he won 4 but he never swept all 5 of the So.cal meet like Bejarano did back in 2008. He almost did in 2011 but of course Bejarano had to win somewhere so he won the SA Fall Meet one. Bejarano is top Southern California Jockey again and hadn’t been since 2008. Still contiuing on riding titles between 2009-2011.
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
I hope Game on Dude loses the Classic. I cant see where Sutherland did anything wrong. I cant see where Martin Garcia did anything wrong. Bobs got a quick trigger.
Marcelo Rivadeneira More than 1 year ago
Marin Garcia expressed a desire to work other horses for other trainers in the morning abandoning his responsibility to Baffert. Since Bejarano was available to fill in, he became Baffert's #1. As far as Chantal, she gave Game On Dude a sloppy ride in The Pacific Classic, dropping her left reign down the stretch, prompting the owner to call for a change. Bejarano is the top jock out west so having him on the top older male out west makes total sense.
Daniel Garcia More than 1 year ago
Martin Garcia was working most Baffert horses in the morning, but he wouldn't get the mount in the race. Martin didn't abandon Baffert as much as Baffert cheating him out on mounts and opportunities in races.
HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
Why so much hate on Rafael Bejarano? Whoever said he’s not a great rider is delusional. He is great and certainly he’s one of the best in the business or even one of the best of all-time. Him and Garrett Gomez are So.Cal’s great riders out right now. I remember him domainating races in Kentucky and winning titles at Keeneland and Churchill Downs and now here he is in Southern California winning titles at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar. I’ve heard people compare him to Laffit Pincay Jr. and I think he certainly should be in the same breath after them legends. I think Rafael is a future hall of famer and I met him before and he’s a nice guy and I have nothing but positive things to say about this talent.
HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
Martin Garcia really did a big number on Baffert. That’s why he’s not on the top horses. He’s done moderately ok since being dumped by Baffert. Now he rides a lot of cheap horses but as of late, he’s won a couple of big races like the Del Mar Derby with My Best Brother and Love and Pride in the Zenyatta Stakes. Not a fan of his or his style but you a good ROI on him because he doesn’t ride really the Bob Baffert’s horses really. Before you wouldn’t.
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
shows who's boss in the Baffert family or maybe Chantal was gettin too close to Bob IT ALSO SHOWS THIS IS A WIN BUSINESS. don't win and your not in BAFFERT'S BUSINESS.
AZ Wildcat More than 1 year ago
Huh? You have been watching too much TMZ. The plain fact of the matter is that Chantal is not physically strong enough to handle that horse. Sorry but it is the truth, and we saw what a stronger rider could do with him.
laura ban More than 1 year ago
Sadly you have part of it right, racing is a business - where not too long ago it was a sport, the sport of kings. - As for Chantal getting too close to Baffert, I'm sure it's safe to say that his wife would keep a tight rein on him and getting too close to Bob would never happen. The change in riders for the Dude was pure business. Nothing but money.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
sadly laura???? why sadly ...no business no game
cappelletti63 More than 1 year ago
Didn't matter who road G.O.D.He was a stand out.Chantal got screwed bottom line... Hell I could have won on him yesterday. He owns Santa Anita.
Guy More than 1 year ago
Good point Capp....if the horses that are going to be in the BC Classic do not come out to Santa Anita and run and work on the track for at least a few weeks...they have no chance to beat the dude in the BC.