Bejarano, Miller honored as leading jockey, trainer at Del Mar
At mid-season, pursuit of Del Mar's 2012 riding championship was a three-way battle among Rafael Bejarano, Garrett Gomez and Joe Talamo. A short time later, with a burst of victories, Bejarano was alone and in control atop the standings en route to his second Del Mar title and first since 2008.
The 30-year-old Peruvian finished the 37-day season with 52 victories, nine more than runner-up Joe Talamo, who was four in front of Garrett Gomez.
Additionally, Bejarano won 13 stakes, bettering the record of 12 shared by Laffit Pincay Jr., Chris McCarron, Gary Stevens and Corey Nakatani. Talamo, second to Joel Rosario for most wins last summer, also had a successful season and won his 12th stakes of the season when he rode Dry Summer to victory in the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf Wednesday.
The race for leading trainer came down to the final day of the meeting Wednesday. With three winners on closing day, Peter Miller captured his first Del Mar conditioning championship, edging out Bob Baffert, 21-20. Doug O'Neill, suspended since August 19, was third with 18 victories, three ahead of John Sadler.
Eastern invader Dullahan flew the colors of Donegal Racing to the winner's circle in Del Mar's signature event -- the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic on August 26 -- and earned his owners Del Mar honors as leading owner for money won with his $600,000 prize.
In the wins-by-owner category, the Glen Hill Farm of Leonard Lavin took top honors for the second year in a row, but this time they did it in a tie with the Doubledown Stables of Richard Templar. Both outfits scored five victories over the course of the 37-day race meet.
Dullahan, who shipped in from Churchill Downs for trainer Dale Romans to win the Pacific Classic, was named Horse of the Meeting for 2012 by vote of the media.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, the three-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Even the Score prevailed over favored Game on Dude by a half-length in Polytrack record time of 1:59.54 for 1 1/4 miles. Dullahan was also voted top three-year-old of the meeting.
Amazombie, the reigning champion male sprinter and victor of the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap, was a unanimous choice as top sprinter. Unbeaten Executiveprivilege, heroine of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes, was a unanimous selection in the two-year-old filly category.
Acclamation, reigning champion older male and the 2011 Horse of the Meeting, was voted top grass horse and older horse. The other division champions were Include Me Out (older filly/mare), Lady of Shamrock (three-year-old filly) and Rolling Fog (two-year-old).
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