Jockey Rafael Bejarano is not No. 1 in the rider standings after the first week of the Del Mar Thorougbred Club meeting. Garrett Gomez was the hot jock of the first five days, notching 10 wins, three more than Bejarano.
But of the seven opening-week stakes events (counting the split Oceanside on Opening Day as two), Bejarano won four.
“We’re looking to build from that.”
From 31 mounts the first week, Bejarano had seven wins, six second-place finishes and four thirds for earnings of $535,320, a 23 percent win and 55 percent in-the-money rate.
“A lot of seconds we wanted to be wins, but he’s riding well and working hard,” Ferrer said.
Bejarano’s Week One stakes victories came aboard Midnight Crooner in a division of the Oceanside, Tilde in the CTBA, Norvsky in the California Dreamin and Eden’s Moon in the San Clemente. Two of those, Midnight Crooner and Eden’s Moon, were for trainer Bob Baffert,
Bejarano’s stakes assignments for Week 2 include Midnight Interlude in today’s Wickerr, Richard’s Kid in Friday’s Cougar II and, on Saturday, Starlight Magic in the Fleet Treat and either Prayer For Relief or Take Control for trainer Bob Baffert in the San Diego Handicap.
On Sunday, Bejarano will be at Monmouth Park in New Jersey to ride Paynter for Baffert in the $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap.
BAFFERT, ZETCHER HOPE ‘MIDNIGHT’ STRIKES AGAIN IN WICKERR
A week ago, Arnold Zetcher’s 3-year-old Midnight Crooner won a division of the Oceanside Stakes for trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Rafael Bejarano. The same connections will be looking for a second straight big Wednesday win with 4-year-old Midnight Interlude.
The colts are full brothers, sons of War Chant out of Midnight Kiss, a Groom Dancer mare owned by Zetcher.
Midnight Interlude, winner of the 2011 Santa Anita Derby and compiler of $760,910 in earnings as a 3-year-old, will be making his first start in nine months.
With scratches of Liberian Freighter and Rauschenberg from the original field, seven were set for the Wickerr, among them defending race champion Calimonco for trainer John Sadler.
“That’s a tough field,” Sadler said. “Anywhere else it’s a Grade II stakes, here …” The Wickerr, one mile on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, is ungraded with a purse of $85,000-added.
NO EASY SPOT FOR COMMA TO THE TOP
Trainer Peter Miller nominated 4-year-old gelding Comma to the Top, whose eight career victories include the 2010 Grade I CashCall Futurity, to today’s Wickerr, Saturday’s San Diego Handicap and Sunday’s Bing Crosby Stakes.
“We wanted to keep our options open,” Miller said last weekend. “We nominated for them all but probably won’t run in any of them. There’s an allowance race on Thursday.”
It goes as the featured seventh race on Thursday’s card. And it’s no bargain.”
Among the nine entered: Bob Baffert-trained Coil, winner of the 2011 Haskell Invitational.
HOLY CANDY SURGERY SUCCESSFUL
Trainer John Sadler reported that Holy Candy, pulled up as the even-money favorite in the second division of the Opening Day Oceanside Stakes, has undergone successful surgery for a bone chip in his right front ankle.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Wayne McIlwraith at Equine Medical in Cerritos.
“Early on we’re very happy with the prognosis,” Sadler said. “We keep them in for four or five days to make sure but in awhile he’ll be up the street and in the same area code.” Owned by the Craig Stables & Donkey Island Racing LLC, Holy Candy will be recuperating at Craig’s Rancho Paseana, a few miles inland from the track.
CLOSERS – Former USD golf coach Tim Mickelson, younger brother of PGA Tour star Phil, is a client of Sadler’s. Mickelson-owned Huntingman ran out of the money as the second choice in Sunday’s fifth race and was claimed away for $40,000. “Now we’re looking for another one for him,” Sadler said. “We’ve had a couple for him that have done well. A filly called One Magical Girl won three races and Dancing In The Dark won a couple, so he’s having a little fun with it.” … Ship-And-Win eligible horses on today’s card include: My Friend Gail (3rd, Dallas Keen trainer); In a Twinkling (3rd, Melody Conlon); Vee (3rd, Matthew Chew); Iaquinta (4th, Richard Mandella); Tiz Lovely (5th, Patrick Biancone); Lolly Goggin (6th, Dallas Keen); Miss Busy (6th, Jack Bruner) … Catching up on workouts: Monday – Switch 4 furlongs, :46.20; Paynter 6 furlongs, bullet 1:11.80; Tuesday – The Factor 4 furlongs, :47.40 …A book on trainer Roger Stein, “Playing The Steinway” co-authored by Mark Ratzky and Esther T. Hall, is now available at http://www.rogerstein.com.
Trakus Facts of the Day for Sunday, July 22
In race two, winner Brilliant Melody took advantage of a ground-saving trip and covered the least amount of ground in the field of eight. 19-1 longshot Conkate had the fastest final furlong timed in 12.12 seconds, which was at least .31 seconds faster than the rest of the field, and still covered 28 feet more than the winner.
Indigo River, third in the San Clemente Handicap, covered 24 feet more than winner Eden’s Moon, and 29 feet more than second placer, Open Water.
Trakus timed Byrama’s final furlong in 11.16 seconds, fastest out of the field of seven. Using the full 2011 season at Del Mar for comparison, Byrama’s time would have been the seventh-fastest final furlong out of 295 starts recorded by Trakus at one mile on turf. This season through 58 starters at one mile on grass, Byrama’s final eighth in the San Clemente was the fastest.