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Breeders Cup 2015

Caracortado out of Sensational Star

It takes more than skill and luck to be a top jockey. It helps if you do your homework and study the Three R’s, in this case, readin’, ridin’ and research, which have helped Rafael Bejarano attain world-class status.


The 29-year-old Peruvian who rode Caracortado to a gotta-see-it-to-believe-it victory in the Grade III Daytona Stakes on Jan. 8, had hoped to duplicate that feat in Saturday’s $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes for California-breds at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf--unfortunately Caracortado was scratched early Friday afternoon due to a minor foot problem.


Take it from trainer Mike Machowsky, Bejarano, now in his fifth year as a regular on the Southern California circuit and a perennial leader, is no one-hit wonder.


“Going to the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs last November I was on the same flight as him,” Machowsky said. “We were on the red-eye and he was sitting there with his mom and I asked him how many races he was riding in the Breeders’ Cup.


“He told me eight, and he asked me if I wanted to see the past performances. He pulled them out and I was amazed. He had each of them in a spiral notebook with notes written next to each horse.


“I said to myself, ‘What a student.’ Here it was Monday night on the red-eye before the Breeders’ Cup and here was a guy who had all the PP’s and his notes printed out and he was studying the races.


“That’s something you’d expect to see from (Super Bowl quarterbacks) Tom Brady and Eli Manning. I was impressed. That’s why when Bejarano rode Caracortado in the Daytona, I told him nothing (before the race). I figured he knows what’s going on and knows each horse he’s running against.”


Reminded that Caracortado was some 13 lengths behind at the three-eighths pole in the Daytona and seemingly hopelessly out of contention, Machowsky was asked if at that moment he might have had second thoughts about not giving Bejarano pre-race instructions.


“Maybe I should have said something,” Machowsky said, smiling. “But seriously, Caracortado is one of those horses that does his own thing.


“He doesn’t want to be sent. He wants to be into the race but he’s got so much talent you can do a lot of different things.”


The Sensational Star is one of five stakes on a 10-race program that includes the Grade I Santa Monica Stakes for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs. The $300,000 guaranteed Santa Monica is the ninth race on a festive Sunshine Millions Day card.


The field for the Sensational Star: Ain’t No Other, Martin Garcia, 6-1; Tamarack Smarty, David Flores, 20-1; Compari, Mike Smith, 5-2; Caracortado, Rafael Bejarano, scratched; My Summer Slew, Alonso Quinonez, 20-1; and Red Defense, Joel Rosario, 8-1.


Luckarack and Mega Heat were scratched.



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