Blind Luck cemented her status as the one to beat in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) with an authoritative come-from-behind victory in the $300,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at Oaklawn Park April 2.
The ultra-consistent mare Tuscan Evening had no problem handling a little extra distance in the Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT), leading all the way for her ninth win in 13 Southern California races March 21 at Santa Anita.
Odds-on choice Bourbon Bay solidified his hold on the distance turf handicap division in Southern California when he rolled to a 2 1/2-length victory in the $150,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita March 20.
Bourbon Bay, who had won the only prior 1 1/2-mile turf race during the Santa Anita meet, made it two-for-two when he romped home in the $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) for his first stakes triumph Feb. 21.
Last at the top of the stretch, Blind Luck charged down the middle of the track to capture the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) by a nose over an unlucky Evening Jewel at Santa Anita Feb. 13.
A winner of six of 10 starts in 2009, Tuscan Evening got her new year off to a great start when she captured the $100,000 Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT) as the favorite on the turf Jan. 3 at Santa Anita.
Lava Man made his long-awaited return to competition in the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) Dec. 27, but it was Proudinsky that found his way back to the winner's circle in the $150,000 turf event at Santa Anita Park.
With a breathtaking move in the lane, Blind Luck demolished a strong field in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) on closing day of the Hollywood Park fall meet Dec. 20.
Big longshot Dancing in Silks, a 25-1 gelding by Black Minnaloushe, poked his nose out in front to win a four-horse cavalry charge in the $2-million Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 7 at Santa Anita Park. Heavy favorite Zensational finished fifth.
Irish-bred Tuscan Evening, who won five of her first six starts in the United Stakes prior to a two-race skid, regained her winning form in Oak Tree's $200,000 Las Palmas Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at one mile over Santa Anita's Camino Real Turf Course.
Princess Haya, making her graded stakes debut, rallied along the hedge to nose Eclipse Award-winning turf female Forever Together in the $283,376 Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine Sept. 20.
Rafael Bejarano, who was excused from mounts on Sept. 4 and 5 because of an injured thumb on his right hand, has been cleared to ride his two stakes horses -- Meteore in the $350,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) and Parading in the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on the Sept. 6 program.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano, who missed 27 days of the 37-day Del Mar meeting because of multiple facial injuries suffered in an opening-day spill, was off his mounts Sept. 5 following an injury to his right thumb on only the sixth day after his return from the earlier injury.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano, preparing to return to action soon after being injured in a spill on opening day at Del Mar, showed up a day early on the morning of Aug. 22, to work two horses.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano, injured seriously in a spill in the July 22 opening day at Del Mar, has been released from the intensive care unit at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla and placed in a private room, according to Dr. John Agostino, a Del Mar track physician.
Rafael Bejarano, who sustained serious facial injuries in a spill July 22 during the third race on Del Mar's opening-day program, was reported to be doing well at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla July 23 by his agent, Joe Ferrer.
Trainer Gary Stute said July 23 that he's "95 percent sure" Bo Hirsch's Papa Clem will make his next start in the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park on Aug. 2.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano was hospitalized July 23 following a bad spill in the third race on opening day at Del Mar Race Course in Southern California.
Tuscan Evening had the pacesetting Patricia's Gem in her sights all the way, finally edging past her in the final 50 yards and winning a sprint to the wire by a nose in the $250,000 Royal Heroine Mile (gr. IIT) on the Hollywood Park turf July 11.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano notched career win 2,000 when he captured the fifth race at Hollywood Park July 9 with favored Good Time Sally for trainer Kathy Walsh.
Making his graded stakes debut in the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap (gr. III), favored Grazen was never headed while posting a 2 3/4-length win over five 3-year-old rivals at Hollywood Park June 20.
In an "old school" move, trainer Gary Stute sent out his Papa Clem for a three-furlong blowout at Churchill Downs two days before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Under jockey Rafael Bejarano, the son of Smart Strike threw down a :34 clocking.
Compari posted a mild upset under Garrett Gomez in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes, but Rafael Bejarano stole the spotlight with a five-win afternoon on the 10th annual California Gold Rush program April 25 at Hollywood Park.
Santa Anita Park concluded its 84-day winter/spring meeting in robust fashion on April 19, posting the first gain in on-track attendance at any major California racetrack since the summer of 2007 at Del Mar.
Rafael Bejarano, winner of the last six major Southern California riding titles, has the mount on Backbackbackgone as Hollywood Park's 70th spring/summer meet opens April 22 with the $70,000-added Harry Henson Stakes.
Southern California shipper Papa Clem outfought even-money choice Old Fashioned in a thrilling stretch duel at Oaklawn Park to win the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) by a half-length April 11.
Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, asks, 'Which Jockey Would You Like to See Win Their First Kentucky Derby?'
Closing with determination for jockey Rafael Bejarano, the multiple graded stakes winner Foxysox ground past favored Gotta Have Her in the final strides to win the $100,000 Tuzla Handicap (gr. IIIT) by a half-length on good going over Santa Anita's turf course Jan. 25.
Classy Soldier's Dancer, far back for most of the journey, closed with a rush to overtake Presious Passion in the final 50 yards, winning the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at a soggy Santa Anita Park Jan. 24.
Two-time grade I winner Country Star looks to rebound from a disappointing sophomore campaign when she makes her 4-year-old debut in the $150,000 El Encino Stakes (gr. II) Jan. 18 at Santa Anita. A full field of a dozen 4-year-old fillies are entered in the 1 1/16-mile event on Pro-Ride.
Favored In Summation regained some of the sparkle he lost last season with a sharp one-length win in the $98,000 El Conejo Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita on New Year's Day.
Favored Proudinsky, ridden with patience by substitute rider Rafael Bejarano, took command near the eighth pole and held off the outsider Ferneley to win the $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park Dec. 28.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano, who did not ride closing day, completed a sweep of the five major Southern California meetings by riding 52 winners at Hollywood Park's 40-day Autumn Meet, which concluded Dec. 21.
With less than two weeks remaining in the Thoroughbred racing season, nearly all of the 2008 leaders have been decided. The lone category without a clear-cut winner is earnings by owner, and it might take until the final few days of the year to determine a victor.
With one week left until the end of Hollywood Park's 2008 fall racing season, jockey Rafael Bejarano is poised to complete a rare riding feat: a sweep of each victory title at every major meet in Southern California in 2008.
J. Paul Reddam's Square Eddie moved into striking position rounding the far turn and drew off in the stretch for an easy win under Rafael Bejarano in the $500,000 Lane's End Futurity (gr. I) Oct. 4 on the Keeneland Polytrack. The victory earned the 2-year-old Smart Strike colt an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile later this month at Santa Anita.
Godolphin Stable's Cocoa Beach has raced in her native Chile and in the Middle East, but apparently, she has found a home in New York.
There were many who questioned whether champion mare Ginger Punch would be able to stretch out to 10 furlongs, something she had never done before. In the $400,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 22 at Saratoga, the 5-year-old daughter of Awesome Again was grateful for the added distance, as she needed every last stride to pass Lemon Drop Mom.
Jockey Omar Berrio was suspended for six months by Del Mar stewards Aug. 13 after he tested positive for cocaine.
Azul Leon remained unbeaten with an assist from the Del Mar stewards, who disqualified the first-place finisher Kelly Leak from victory in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 10.
Bottled up on the inside and running at a slow pace, Ginger Punch showed her grit as a true champion by splitting horses just outside the eighth-pole and finally taking over at the top of the stretch to earn a hard-fought 1 1/4-length victory in the $250,000 Go For Wand Handicap (gr. I) July 26 at Saratoga.
Monzante took the overland route in coming from last to catch favored Whatsthescript in the final strides, winning the $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) in eye-catching style by a half-length on the Del Mar turf course July 20.
Hollywood Park realized a 1.8% drop in all-sources handle during the 70th running of its spring/summer meet, which ended July 13.
Azul Leon became the first graded winner and the second added-money winner overall for North America's leading first crop sire, Lion Heart, with a four-length triumph in the $106,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. III) July 5.
Stronach Stables' Ginger Punch, keen on defending her champion older female title of 2007, made it look easy in the $300,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap with a commanding victory in the Belmont Park fixture June 14.
Lethal Heat gained the lead in the final sixteenth of a mile and scored a head victory over Smooth Performer in a three-horse blanket finish to the $157,600 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track June 8.
Eastern invader Rebellion got a hot pace to run at and emerged with a late-closing victory in the $111,700 Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track June 7.
Heatseeker established himself as the favorite for this year's Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) with a scintillating victory as the even-money choice in the $245,000 Californian (gr. II) over the Cushion Track surface May 31. The 5-year-old son of Giant's Causeway defeated his rival Tiago by 5 1/4 lengths while setting a record for the 1 1/8-mile distance on the Inglewood track.
Heavy favorite Precious Kitten got her first win in the Lael Stables silks when she collared pacesetting Diamond Diva at the top of the lane and cruised to a 2 1/4-length victory in the $283,000 Gamely (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park May 26.
West Point Thoroughbreds' El Gato Malo, making his first start on traditional dirt, made a dramatic move in late stretch to take the 400,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) by a half-length May 10 at Lone Star Park.
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