The California Gold Rush, which was held for the 14th time Saturday
at Betfair Hollywood Park, continues to be jockey Rafael Bejarano
Fresh off a four win day Friday, Bejarano won three of the eight
Gold Rush events – which are restricted to horses bred or sired in
California – including the two richest races.
More than 2 ½ hours after winning the $245,000 Melair Stakes with
the 3-year-old filly Doinghardtimeagain, Bejarano got the money with
3-year-old colt Surfcup in the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes.
Those wins – along with the half-length decision aboard 4-1 shot
Kate’s Event in the $125,250 Tiznow – gave the Peruvian-born Bejarano 16
Gold Rush victories in the last five years. Overall, Bejarano has 19
wins, two behind Gold Rush leader Victor Espinoza.
With seven victories in the first three days of the Spring/Summer
meet, Bejarano has moved closer to a significant milestone. He is 11
wins away from 3,000 in a career that began in his native country in
Always close to the slow pace set by 37-1 shot Bobo, Surfcup gained
the lead while on the outside early in the stretch and went on to win by
a half-length over Fighting Hussar. Tiz a Minister, the 11-10 favorite,
was a non-threatening third after being far back for most of the 1 1/8
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for owner-breeder Donald
Dizney, Surfcup earned his third win in six starts, but first on a
surface other than turf. The son of Unusual Heat and the Runaway Groom
mare Omi Princess pushed his earnings to $275,800. He paid $12, $6.60
and $3.20 as the 5-1 third choice while completing the distance in
Able to save ground throughout – after some early trouble – while
positioned just behind the pacesetters, Fighting Hussar, who was four
lengths in front of Tiz a Minister at the finish, paid $7.20 and $3.20.
Tiz a Minister returned $2.20 to show.
“He had never run on this track and I just tried to get him
comfortable in the race,’’ said Bejarano of Surfcup. “He was real
relaxed in the beginning and when (Fighting Hussar) came running at the
end, my horse gave me a big kick.’’
The win was Baffert’s third in the Snow Chief, following Chief
Planner (2003) and Da Stoops (2006), and Mike Marlow, his assistant
trainer, said the fact Surfcup handled Cushion Track gives the stable
“We always thought he likes turf,’’ said Marlow. “It was kind of a surprising race really. He’s definitely a two-turn horse.’’
A win by Bejarano in the Melair was certainly nothing new. The 1 ¼
length victory aboard Doinghardtimeagain, the 7-10 favorite, was his
fourth in the race in six years.
Stretching out after a decisive victory in the Evening Jewel Stakes
March 30 at Santa Anita, Doinghardtimeagain relaxed off the moderate
splits set by Sweet Marini, moved in tandem while outside 4-1 shot
Unusual Way around the turn, dispatched of that rival and took over from
the stubborn pacesetter nearing the finish.
Trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer – his first of three
wins Saturday – for owner-breeders Debi and Tom Stull’s Tommy Town
Thoroughbreds, Doinghardtimeagain completed the 1 1/16 miles over
Cushion Track in 1:43.55. She paid $3.40, $2.20 and $2.10.
A daughter of Ministers Wild Cat out of the Conquistador Cielo mare
Silver Hawk Lady, Doinghardtimeagain has won four of eight. Worse than
second only once, the dark bay has earned $483,770.
The victory was the first beyond seven furlongs for
Doinghardtimeagain and kept her undefeated in three starts at Betfair
Hollywood Park. She broke her maiden last Nov. 9 and won the inaugural
Soviet Problem Stakes last Dec. 9 prior to the Melair.
“Very nice effort,’’ said Hollendorfer, who also teamed with
Bejarano in a thrilling renewal of the Tiznow before scoring with jockey
Corey Nakatani and 6-1 shot Curvy Cat –also for Tommy Town
Thoroughbreds – in the $126,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes.
“(Doinghardtimeagain) was placed in a nice spot and was able to
close down on (Sweet Marini). We had a good trip, we got lucky and won
Rebounding after a dismal performance in her first of the year and
initial race for Baffert, Sweet Marini wound up two lengths clear of
Unusual Way and paid $3.60 and $2.80. The show price on Unusual Way was
Kate’s Event rallied widest of all to win in a race where the first four finishers were separated by less than one length.
Winning for the third time in five starts in 2013, Kate’s Event ran
the 7 ½ furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:29.31. The third choice in a
field of seven paid $10.40, $4.80 and $2.80.
Owned by breeder William H. Ziering, the 6-year-old Event of the
Year horse out of the Mane Minister mare Nordidid has won six of 16 and
“Everything worked out great,’’ said Bejarano. “When I saw my horse
was relaxing so well, I just decided to wait. He came through between
horses at the half-mile to the three-eighths and when I finally came
around into the stretch, he really came running. I thought I was going
to be third at the eighth pole, but he just kept coming.’’
Rock Me Baby, the 4-1 second choice, finished a half-length behind
the winner after setting the pace and returned $5 and $4. A nose back in
third was 14-1 outsider Planet Sunshine. His show price was $5.80.
Mel’s Game, the even money favorite, finished fourth, a nose behind
Planet Sunshine after encountering traffic woes under jockey Julien
Leparoux. The defeat was the first in 2013 for the son of Game Plan. The
4-year-old had gone 3-for-3 over conventional dirt during Santa Anita’s
“He had the one hole and he didn’t break as sharp as he usually
does,’’ said Leparoux. “I tried to get up inside, but everyone kind of
boxed me in. After that, I had to wait, wait, wait for room. He ran well
with a tough trip.’’
In a B. Thoughtful weakened by the scratch of Teddy’s Promise, the
7-5 morning line favorite, Curvy Cat wore down pacesetter Ismene in the
final sixteenth for her seventh career victory.
Returning to a synthetic surface after an off-the-board finish in
the Irish O’Brien Stakes last month on turf at Santa Anita, Curvy Cat
won by one length in 1:29.65 for the 7 ½ furlongs.
A 4-year-old Ministers Wild Cat filly out of the Distorted Humor
mare Curvy Girl, Curvy Cat has banked $241,373 in 15 starts. She has
been worse than third only once while racing in both Northern and
Southern California. She paid $15.80, $7.80 and $4.
“In the beginning of the meet, I think it helps if a horse has been
training here,’’ said Hollendorfer after his sixth Gold Rush victory.
“Anytime I can win a race in Southern California I love it. It’s a
little tougher here than in most places.
“When Teddy’s Promise was scratched, I think that bolstered
everybody’s confidence a little bit because she was definitely the horse
to beat. We’ll see about finding more spots for (Curvy Cat) here.’’
Ismene, who had a two-length lead with an eighth of a mile to run
after being prompted for the first four furlongs by 71-1 outsider
Melanistic, wound up 3 ¾ lengths in front of Dancingtothestars. The 2-1
favorite paid $4.40 and $2.80 while the show price on Dancingtothestars
A Grade I winner – the 2011 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita – for
owner-breeders Ted and Judy Nichols, Teddy’s Promise was declared from
the B. Thoughtful Saturday morning by trainer Ron Ellis. He said the
5-year-old Salt Lake mare had a “touch’’ of a bruise on her left front
A winner of eight of 22, Teddy’s Promise is nominated to the
$70,000-added Time To Leave Stakes, a five furlong contest over Cushion
Track. She is the defending champion in a race scheduled for May 5.
“We’ll work on it this week and maybe we’ll be all right (for the Time to Leave),’’ said Ellis.
Hail Mary was the most decisive Gold Rush winner, romping by 9 ¾
lengths as the 3-10 favorite in the $70,500 Warren’s Thoroughbreds.
Leparoux rode the 3-year-old daughter of Old Topper for his
father-in-law, trainer Mike Mitchell and owner-breeder Nick Alexander.
The win was the second in four starts for Hail Mary.
In the male counterpart to the Warren’s Thoroughbred, Super Ability,
the 2-1 favorite, won the $70,750 Grey Memo Stakes by 2 ¾ lengths.
Martin Garcia rode the 5-year-old Langfuhr gelding for Iconic Thoroughbreds LLC and breeder Harris Farms, Inc. and trainer Carla Gaines. Like Hail Mary, Super Ability has won two of four.
The two stakes races for maidens – the $60,750 NTRA
and the $62,000 Alphabet Kisses – were won by jockey Tyler Baze, who
also captured the seventh – a non Gold Rush race – with Mega Heat.
Celebrity Status won the NTRA while Warren’s Veneda took the Alphabet Kisses.