Jockey Raphael Bejarano closed out a riding title at Santa Anita, captured a stakes win at Del Mar during opening weekend, and still found time to win Indiana Grand’s biggest race of the year on his way to the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for July 11- July 17. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
After riding opening day at Del Mar’s 77th season of racing, Bejarano skipped the Saturday card to take the call aboard the Bob Baffert trained Cupid in the 22nd running of the Indiana Derby at Indiana Downs. That decision turned out to be a good one as Cupid rebounded from two disappointing efforts to gut out a victory in the Gr. 2 $500,000 Indiana Derby.
Bejarano had to adjust after the race didn’t unfold the way he had planned, eventually overcoming a poor break from post position 11. The veteran rider had to stay busy on the winner all the way to the wire as Cupid refused to change leads and appeared to race erratic late in the race.
“It was an exciting race,” Jimmy Barnes, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert said, “He was all over the place. (Jockey Rafael Bejarano) had to get him to run early and use him, but once he got into cruising gear, he looked good. Late down the lane, I don’t know what it was. He was still on his left lead and leaning in—he was all over the place. But anyway, we got it done.”
The following afternoon it was back to Del Mar where Bejarano would get his first two wins of the 2016 meet when taking the late daily double on Sunday’s card. He would kick off that double with a tenacious win aboard Midnight Storm in the featured Gr. 2 $250,000 Eddie Read Stakes. The victory was Bejarano’s third in the Eddie Read and his 49th lifetime stakes win at Del Mar.
The native of Peru just clinched another riding title at the recently concluded Santa Anita Park Spring meet with 46 wins and finished this week with three wins from 14 starts.
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JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, The Daily Racing Form, Equibase, Horse Racing Nation, The Jockeys’ Guild, The Paulick Report, The Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America.