With a stakes triple in his return to Turfway Park, Rafael Bejarano was voted Jockeys’ Guild Foundation Detox Jockey of the Week for March 4-10, 2019. 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. Jockey of the Week is sponsored by FoundationDetox.com, America’s #1 Equine Toxin Remover.
With a mount in five races on the Jeff Ruby Steaks card at Turfway, Rafael Bejarano was well-suited to have a successful return to the track where he led the riding standings for three straight years.
Bejarano won three of the five stakes leading up to the feature race of the day. He began with a win in the $50,000 Animal Kingdom Stakes with Hawaiian Noises ($5.00), bred, owned and trained by Wesley Ward. The pair dueled with Thunderous Gem before pulling away by nearly a length at the wire, with a gap of five back to the third-place finisher.
He returned to the winners’ circle in the $75,000 Rushaway Stakes for another Ward trainee, Onthewaytonevrland ($4.00), owned and bred by Ice Wine Stable and an easy winner in the field of nine 3-year-olds.
Bejarano’s best race was his final mount of the day, the $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks, which awards points to the top four finishers for the Kentucky Oaks. While his other mounts preferred to be on or near the pace, Naughty Joker ($6.00) relaxed midpack early before picking off foes to win by two lengths. Also trained by Wesley Ward, Naughty Joker is a homebred for Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
Bejarano was the leading rider at Turfway from 2002 to 2004 to win four riding titles and holds the record for most wins on a single card at the track, with seven wins in one day.
No other jockey won as many stakes as Bejarano last week. The three stakes victories were his only wins in five starts; he has won 19 of his 117 mounts this year and is 3,971 for 19457 lifetime.
Bejarano finished the week with $134,740 in earnings, all from stakes, placing him in eighth place among all North American jockeys by stakes earnings last week and in the top 30 for total earnings. In 2019, he has earned over $1 million, and his career earnings to date are just under $199 million.
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