Bejarano Due at Hollywood Nov. 21
Photo: Rick Samuels
Rafael Bejarano
Rafael Bejarano, one of the top five leading riders in the nation, is expected to join the Southern California jockey colony on a permanent basis when he begins riding Nov. 21 at Hollywood Park.

Bejarano, a 25-year-old native of Peru, will shift his base from Kentucky. He ranks fifth nationally with more than $14 million in purse earnings and has won 220 races.

“I hope he loves California as much as I do,” said Joe Ferrer, Bejarano’s agent.

“More breeders from the East are sending horses out here now for the synthetic tracks,” said Ferrer, who previously wintered in Florida.

Julien Leparoux, another leading Kentucky rider, is scheduled to join the Southern California circuit on Nov. 25.

Ferrer said the clincher to moving Bejarano's book was was trainer Bobby Frankel’s assurance that his client would ride many of his horses here. “We’ve been lucky together,” said Frankel. “He rides good, and he’s light.”

Bejarano won the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) for Frankel aboard Ginger Punch on Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park. He has enjoyed success on previous California visits, winning six races on one card at Santa Anita and the John Mabee Handicap (gr. IT) aboard Precious Kitten at Del Mar.

He will ride Precious Kitten in the $500,000 Matriarch (gr. I) Nov. 25 and either Proudinsky or Silent Name in the $400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. I) Nov. 23 for Frankel. He also picked up a mount on unbeaten Meal Penalty in the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-olds on Nov. 22 for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Bejarano will ride at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24 in a pair of 2-year-old stakes.

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