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No Stopping Jockey Rafael Bejarano

Jockey Rafael Bejarano signs autographs the day before the Preakness

Rafael Bejarano bounced back like the proverbial rubber ball from a spill in Friday’s fifth race. The mishap appeared to be very serious to the naked eye, and the 30-year-old rider took off his remaining mounts that day but worked horses Saturday morning and won four races that day—all stakes—including three Grade I’s for trainer Bob Baffert.

There was never a doubt Bejarano would fulfill his engagements Saturday, according to his agent, Joe Ferrer.

Asked how soon Ferrer felt Bejarano would ride on Saturday, he answered: “Immediately, because he said he fell on his head but he was able to roll, and when you can roll, the initial impact isn’t as hard as when you hit and don’t roll.

“He told paramedics he was OK. I talked to Rafael on the phone, and Jimmy Barnes (Baffert’s top assistant) went and saw him in the ambulance. I asked Jimmy to give him the phone and Rafael told me he was fine, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ll call you back in 10 minutes.’

“When he told me that, I knew that he was riding the next day.”

Bejarano rides four horses for Baffert in stakes at Hoosier Park in Indiana on Saturday, including Fed Biz in the Indiana Derby, Eden’s Moon, Ellafitz and Hoorayforhollywood.

Baffert’s horses earned $470,000 in purse money at Santa Anita Saturday, his three winners finishing a combined 16 lengths in front of their rivals.

“Everything’s good,” Baffert reported Sunday morning when asked how Game On Dude, Power Broker and Executiveprivilege came out of their authoritative victories. “No complaints.”

The 59-year-old Hall of Fame trainer was happy with the improvement in Santa Anita’s conventional dirt surface. “When we first got here, it was pretty damn deep and young horses were struggling,” he said, “but now, to me, the best horses are winning.”

 

 

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