Under the heading of major news on the jockey agent front, perennial Southern California riding king Rafael Bejarano has parted company with agent Joe Ferrer and Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens has split with Craig O’Bryan.
Bejarano will now be represented by Tora Yamaguchi, the current Stakes Coordinator at Santa Anita, while Stevens will be represented by former top agent Ron Ebanks, who has been involved with other ventures the past three years. Yamaguchi will begin his run starting with the Los Alamitos meet on July 2, while Ebanks and Stevens will officially pair up at the start of Del Mar on July 16.
“Craig and I are great friends and we had a great run,” Stevens said. “He’s doing great with Tyler (Baze) and doing great with me, but I want to expand a little bit and want a little individuality. Ron became available and was ready to go back to work. We’ve always wanted to work together so we’re excited.
“Craig and I are like family . . . It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but we’re excited to move forward.”
Said Ebanks: “Gary and I have been friends for almost 28 years. We always had it in mind to get together but it never worked out. Timing is everything, however, and I’m looking forward to our future together.”
Through 31 racing days at Santa Anita’s Spring Meet, Bejarano held a 39-28 lead over runner-up Baze and was tops in purse earnings with $1,832,842. Stevens had six wins from 24 rides and his mounts had earned $576,100.