Winning isn’t easy. It’s just that some athletes have the uncanny ability to make it look that way.
With the U.S. Olympic trials in full swing and the most decorated American Olympian, swimmer Michael Phelps, set four his third Games in the pool, Rafael Bejarano is stealing the show at the race track by racking up wins of his own.
Phelps has notched 14 Olympic gold medals in his career, and since 2008, Rafael Bejarano and Joel Rosario have won every major riding title in Southern California.
That streak will continue through the end of this meet with Bejarano’s 57 wins leaving him 23 clear of Joe Talamo in second after notching five wins yesterday on the first day without splitting the most coveted mounts with the departed Rosario.
If Bejarano stays healthy he can single-handedly continue the streak much longer, as winning races in more than bunches will become the norm for him, not the exception. His gaudy 30% win rate with 12 days left in the meet is already more than 10% higher than any of the other riders in the colony, so we could be looking at similar dominance to what Phelps has enjoyed while earning a medal in all 16 races he’s competed in over the last two Olympics.
On Friday night’s card where the talent level of the equine athletes is severely lacking, Bejarano rides in half the eight races, aboard a 5-to-2 favorite and a trio of runners listed at 3-to-1.
That leaves all the other riders with four chances to win.
We’re off to the races!
Pick 4 -
Leg 1 – Race 5 (2,6,7,8) – One of only two allowance races on the card, both for Cal-breds, we’ll go use the logical runners in this maiden event on turf with No. 2 Vonn Nez, No. 6 Scientific, No. 7 Passionville (Bejarano) and No. 8 Attigirl Meadow.
Leg 2 – Race 6 (1,4,6,7) – The only non-claiming event for winners on the night, first-level sprinters travel six furlongs and we’ll use the four-pack of No. 1 This Means War, No. 4 Easy Goes By, No. 6 You Can Dream and No. 7 Roar Baby Roar (Bejarano).
Leg 3 – Race 7 (4,6) – The feature race slot offers up a $25,000 claimer at 1 3/16-miles on turf and No. 6 Seeking Solace should be tough for Ron Ellis on the 12-day turn around with pace to chase from mid-pack.
No. 4 Jairzihno should relish the added ground for his late kick despite just two wins in 35 starts.
Leg 4 – Race 8 (1,3,4,8,11) – Inside and outside chalk should be tough with No. 1 Visionary Man (Bejarano) and No. 11 Et Tu Walker, but we’ll add three others and hope for a price with No. 3 Sidepocket Kid, No. 4 Ruling Force or No. 8 Big Man in Town.
Recap – (2,6,7,8) w (1,4,6,7) w (4,6) w (1,3,4,8,11) – Total cost of ticket = $80
Yesterday’s Result – (-$72)
Total for current Hollywood Park spring/summer meet – (-$1,649.45)
Total from 12/26/10 – 4/22/12 – (+$588.70)
Pick 5 –
Leg 1 – Race 1 (1,2,4,6) – Unlikely we’ll have an odds-on favorite in the opener today, so we’ll use the four that are tough to separate with No. 1 Lisa Lulu, No. 2 Memo to Kathy, No. 4 Indy Beauty and No. 6 Sunshine High.
Leg 2 – Race 2 (1,5) – In what appears to be a rather pace less race for Cal-bred maiden claimers, Bejarano can keep the winning going by putting No. 1 Awesome Year on the lead off a runner-up effort that saw him within two lengths of the lead early.
No. 5 Bev N Bud was relatively close to the pace two races back, but has been well behind in her other four starts.
Leg 3 – Race 3 (8,9) – Another maiden claimer lacking early zip so we’ll give No. 9 Colledimezzo a shot at a wire-to-wire score after a game runner-up effort at 62-to-1 going a touch further in his last. It could mark the first win at Hollywood Park for recently relocated rider Juan Hernandez.
No. 8 I Feel Free has already failed a field high 11 times, but he’s been in the money in seven of those races and will be putting in a late run.
Leg 4 – Race 4 (2,3,6,7,9) – A tough $16,000 claiming route where we spread with No. 2 Ultimate Decision, No. 3 Big Son of a Gun, No. 6 Ziggy’s Starsdust, No. 7 Morganouska and No. 9 Hasty Trend.
Leg 5 – Race 5 (2,6,7,8) – Same four as the late Pick-4.
Recap – (1,2,4,6) w (1,5) w (8,9) w (2,3,6,7,9) w (2,6,7,8) – Total cost of ticket = $160
Yesterday’s Result – (-$90)
Total for current Hollywood Park spring/summer meet – (+$265.90)
Total from 7/20/11 – 4/22/12 – (+$2,150.80)
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