Bejarano in Hollywood Debut Aboard Suave

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Trainer Paul McGee hopes to continue the luck he enjoyed with jockey Rafael Bejarano at Churchill Downs when the Peruvian-born riding sensation makes his Hollywood Park debut aboard Suave in the $400,000-added Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds on Saturday.

"I won 13 races at Churchill, and Rafael won all 13 of them," said McGee Thursday after Kentucky shipper Suave galloped 1 1/2 miles around the main Hollywood Park track. Bejarano, 22, won the Churchill riding title with 81 wins in 53 days and leads the nation in wins with 245 from 999 mounts.

"Rafael won the Northern Dancer on this horse in his last start, and Samantha (owner Samantha Siegel of Beverly Hills) suggested to bring him out," said McGee. "I was all for that."

Bejarano is following in the footsteps of countryman Edgar Prado, one of the nation's top riders based in New York. "He just has that intangible: horses seem to run for him," said McGee of Bejarano. "He has a good seat. He's small and looks like Pat Day or Julie Krone on a horse. They look like such naturals. He sits still, but he's still an aggressive rider. He gets horses into the race."