May 25, 2022

Kentucky Notebook – 10/21

Last updated: 10/20/04 9:40 PM


KENTUCKY
NOTEBOOK


by Steve Moody


Bejarano still bringing home prices at Keeneland


Rafael Bejarano leads all riders nationally in wins, currently
holding a 78-win cushion over Maryland-based Ramon Dominguez. He
has surprised no one by dominating the standings at Turfway and
Ellis Park, but some wondered whether he could maintain his lead
in the national standings when riding approximately five months a
year at Keeneland and Churchill Downs. The scramble for jockeys
to get live mounts is much more competitive and there is always
the presence of perennial riding king Pat Day.


With little over two months remaining this year, it’s been
mission accomplished for Bejarano. Although he had only seven
wins in Keeneland’s April meet, he blew away the competition
during the spring meet at Churchill, ringing up 81 wins, 27 more
than runner-up Day. Now as the current Keeneland meet hits the
halfway point, Bejarano finds himself at the top of the standings
with 13 wins from 71 starts (18 percent) and an amazing five
stakes wins through the first eight days of racing.


Bejarano seems to be comfortable on dirt or turf, route or
sprint, fast or sloppy. As one veteran Keeneland observer put it
last week, “He’s putting every horse he rides in a position
to win. It’s tough to ask for more than that.”


The good news for Keeneland bettors is despite all his
success, Day is still attracting the lion’s share of favorites
and Bejarano’s average win mutuel is an astonishing $15. Through
the first eight days, Bejarano has had 71 mounts, more than any
other rider, but has only been aboard 10 favorites while winning
on four of them. Contrast that to Day who’s been aboard 22
favorites from 49 total mounts with nine of his 10 meet wins
coming aboard the public choice. Because of that, Day’s average
winning mutuel is a paltry $5.50.


Despite the fact that Bejarano has moved to the top of the
standings in just his third Keeneland meet, most of the betting
public hasn’t caught on. Bejarano had an average win mutuel of $17.40
last October and a $15.30 average back in April of this year. His
current $15 average mutuel gives him a $2 ROI of 2.75, simply
unheard of for the rider at the top of the standings. He’ll
likely ride at Keeneland for six or seven more days before
heading for Lone Star and the Breeders’ Cup. One can only hope
the remainder of the meet will be just as profitable.


Keeneland makes Pick-4 guarantee; payoff still generous


Keeneland came up $55,000 short on their first guaranteed Pick
4, but came in at $322,000 last Sunday. The payoff, however was
still a generous one at $963.60. The Pick 4 started with Valliant
Dancer (Valiant Nature) ($10.60), Bull Market (Holy Bull) ($5.00),
Molto Vita (Carson City) ($7.20) and Sweet Science (Diesis [GB])
(9.60), three second-choices and one favorite. The parlay for the
four winners was $432.


The Pick 4 payoff represented a 132 percent bonus for those
with winning tickets. The final guaranteed Pick 4 of the meet is
this Sunday on races 6-9. Sunday’s feature race is the Dowager S.,
1-1/2 miles on the turf for fillies and mares.


HORSES TO WATCH


Sunday (10/17)


2ND — RETROSPECT (Pioneering) broke dead last, was rank and
wide throughout.


3RD — BIG BOLD SWEEP (End Sweep) had to wait for running
room, but when he eased out in the stretch to find it, he
responded with a strong late run to get up in time in this
contest for $50,000 claimers.


9TH — DOWRY (Belong to Me) bobbled sharply at the start, but
quickly recovered to gain the early lead. She hung on gamely
until the final yards before being passed by Sweet Science. TAKKAT (Horse Chestnut [SAf]) was checked at the five-eighths
pole, then put in a strong late run while very wide to finish
third.


Saturday (10/16)


1ST — COPPER RIPPLE (Copper Man) waited for running room
along the inside, then angled out five-wide for the stretch run
and got up to win this claiming race. FIGHTING WOLF (Fit to Fight) was in a long drive in this race
and very wide round the far turn. His third-place finish is
better than it looks.


5TH — QUIDDITCH PLAYER (Glyer) had only one rival beaten at
the head of the lane, but finished fast in traffic to be third.
He figures to improve if he gets clear running next time out.


8TH — BARANCELLA (Fr) (Acatenango) was caught inside for a
good portion of the Queen Elizabeth II Invitational Challenge Cup S. (G1) and lacked running room. When she
finally extricated herself, she put in a strong late run, but
came up a bit short behind Ticker Tape (GB) (Royal Applause [GB]).


9TH — SHELLSEEKER (Quaker Ridge) broke dead last, then
hustled to press the leaders before tiring late. Look for a
better effort next time with an alert start.


Friday (10/15)


1ST — BELLE’S BLAZE (Northern Trump) rallied to be second in
this maiden claiming race despite her rider dropping the whip in
the stretch run.


5TH — DIANNE’S DEBUT (Chester House) was slammed at the start
and was rank early while trailing the field. She never saved any
ground and went extremely wide turning for home. Her fifth-place
finish is much better than it might appear.


6TH — STRAY CAT BLUES (General Meeting) checked soon after
the start, then made a big middle move before flattening out late
in this maiden race. BAVARIAN BARON (Summer Squall) rallied from dead last with an
extremely wide run around the far turn and finished well to be
third.


8TH — IN HAND (Belong to Me) trailed for most of the race,
but finished full of run to win this 1 1/8-mile turf allowance. DR. BRENDLER (Distant View) returned from a 15-month layoff
with a strong effort. He rallied to the lead in the late going,
but wasn’t able to last. Look for him to move forward off that
much-needed tightener.


9TH — JOSH’S MADELYN (Quiet American) came from far back,
circling the entire field to win the Raven Run S. (G2) going away.
The three-year-old filly has now won six of nine starts this year.


Thursday (10/14)


4TH — SOUTHERN (Southern Halo) finished very well in this
seven-furlong maiden test to be second and may be ready to break
her maiden next time out. SHELBIANA KITTY (Scatmandu) had her head turned at the start
and got away slowly. She’ll benefit from that experience and
figures to move forward.


5TH — TEXAS GOLD DIGGER (Texas City) was steadied briefly
inside the eighth pole and tired in the late stages. WESTERN DOLL (Crafty Prospector) made a big middle move and
rolled to an easy win in this six-furlong dash.


6TH — SUNDOWNER (Gone West) got jolted about the eighth pole
by one rival, then got knocked sideways by another a couple of
strides later.


7TH — SCRIPTURE (Hennessy) hopped at the start, then went to
his knees and lost all chance. GO LIONEL GO (Lucky Lionel) never threatened as the betting
favorite following a slow start.


8TH – COMMENTATOR (Distorted Humor), a New York-bred, showed
the locals he was for real with a front-running score in the
Perryville S., stopping the teletimer in 1:25 flat for the Beard
Course, just two ticks off Lamb Chop’s 44-year-old track record. The undefeated sophomore colt looks to be a good fit in the
Ack Ack H. (G3) at Churchill Downs on October 31.


9TH — MIGHTY MILITARY (Military) was never able to save any
ground in this one-mile turf race, five wide in the first turn
and four wide in the second.


Wednesday (10/13)


2ND — THUNDER MISSION (Pulpit) clipped heels and nearly went
down heading into the first turn. He was last heading down the
backside before launching a big rally while very wide on the far
turn. His third-place finish was a remarkable effort.


3RD — SUPER TUSCAN (Untuttable) went wide turning for home,
but finished well through the stretch to be second. He has a
right to improve next time out.


6TH — RHYTHM IN SHOES (Rhythm) trailed for a good deal of
this one-mile turf race, but finished like a freight train and
blew by the entire field in the stretch run. She’s worth watching
while moving through her allowance conditions. MAE HAP (Phone Trick) hopped at the start, then bobbled
sharply after a couple of strides. She was up close early before
predictably tiring late. LADY OFFENSE ((Lee’s Badger) was never able to save an inch of
ground from her outside post, going eight-wide in the first turn
and six-wide in the second.


7TH — DYNA’S DYNAMO (Dynaformer) got away to a very slow
start, but did finish well to be third. She is capable of better
with an alert start.


9TH — JARRETT (Mi Cielo) dueled from the start in this 6 1/2-furlong
dash and battled back through the stretch to be second with 61-year-old
rider R.A. “Cowboy” Jones.