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Bejarano Pursues Another SoCal Riding Crown

Jockey Rafael Bejarano signs autographs the day before the Preakness
It’s still anybody’s race, but with eight days remaining in Santa Anita’s 24-day meet, Rafael Bejarano is on top of the jockey standings with a 17-15 lead over runner-up Edwin Maldonado, and Joe Talamo on their heels in third with 14 wins.

“(The late) Bobby Frankel gave me the opportunity to ride in Southern California, and I was prepared when I arrived,” Bejarano said. “He was putting me on all his horses and that made it easier for me. He opened the door for me in California.

“Some jockeys come here from out of town and it’s kind of hard if they don’t have a good trainer supporting them.”

Bejarano rides Heir Kitty for the first time in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf.

“In a case like this, I study the past performances and see how she’s been running before,” Bejarano said. “She’s already run once at a mile on the grass at Santa Anita (fifth by a length in the Blue Norther Stakes last January) and she waited for room at the 3/16 pole, so with better luck, she should improve this time.”


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