(from Hollywood Park)
Rafael Bejarano is to ride Rail Trip in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood Park May 8, trainer Ron Ellis said.
Ellis made announced his decision on the morning of May 2. Bejarano replaces Jose Valdivia Jr., who has ridden the 5-year-old gelding in all nine of his previous starts before shifting his tack to the East Coast last month.
“He’ll work an easy half mile Wednesday (May 5),” said Ellis of the horse’s final drill for his 2010 debut. The Mervyn LeRoy will be Rail Trip's first start since a third-place finish in the Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar last September.
Rail Trip finished second in the Mervyn LeRoy and The Californian (gr. II) last year before posting the biggest win of his career in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I). The six-time winner has earned $787,790 for Mace and Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable.
Ellis indicated the Kentucky-bred son of Jump Start will continue on the same path this year with an ultimate goal of the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). The grade II Mervyn LeRoy will be run at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track, followed by The Californian on June 12 and the Gold Cup on July 10.