Rafael Bejarano already is assured of becoming the first jockey to win three consecutive Santa Anita riding titles since Laffit Pincay from 1979-81. He took care of that long ago, but now he has a shot at another milestone.
Bejarano, a 28-year-old native of Peru, entered the final week of this Santa Anita season needing 11 victories to reach the century mark — something that hasn’t been done since Kent Desormeaux won 112 races during the 1994-95 season. Corey Nakatani also won more than 100 races that year, finishing with 107.
The century mark at Santa Anita has been reached 18 times, including a record nine times by the incomparable Laffit Pincay Jr., who looks like he could still be riding today if not for the injury that forced him to retire in 2003.
After Bejarano’s 0 for 4 Wednesday, he’s sitting on 89 victories with four days to go. He’s scheduled to ride in seven of the eight races both today and Friday and has been booked on mounts in eight of Saturday’s 10 races. He needs to average a little more than 2.5 victories per day, meaning he probably needs one four-victory afternoon to reach the magic number.
Can he do it? I say he will. What do you think?