Bejarano to Appeal Five-Day Suspension

By Claire Novak
Jockey Rafael Bejarano received a five day suspension from the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority on Thursday, after his horse bumped and forced another out on the final turn in Wednesday's second race at Keeneland. The 23-year-old rider said he will appeal the suspension, which would run from April 30 to May 5 and prevent him from riding in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).

The incident that provoked Bejarano's suspension occurred between three horses --Bejarano, on the Merrill Scherer trainee Onlynurimagination, the Dale Romans-trained Fiddler and jockey Rene Douglas, and Crafty Cammack under jockey Robby Albarado, Douglas lodged a claim of foul for interference, resulting in the subsequent disqualification and placing fifth of Bejarano's mount.

According to Bejarano's agent, Joe Ferrer, the jockey has 48 hours to lodge his appeal. Ferrer said the jockey is named to ride the William Morey-trained Press Camp in the Oaks, should the filly draw into the race. The daughter of Comic Strip has a record of 4-1-0 in eight races with earnings of $99,830 and stakes victories in the Tiburon Handicap and San Ramon, but has no graded stakes earnings.

Bejarano, who won three races on Wednesday's Keeneland card before repeating the feat Thursday, is currently second in the jockey standings behind Julien Leparoux at the Lexington oval (16-15). He ranks tenth in the national jockey standings by number of wins and is named to 10 mounts on the April 29 opening card at Churchill Downs. ~ Claire Novak