PENDER TRAINEE WINS TURF FIXTURE FOR RECORD THIRD TIME, BEJARANO WINS SIXTH IN-A-ROW
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 4, 2014)–With Track Announcer Trevor Denman bellowing “It’s Jeranimo, coming like a rocket on the outside, and Jeranimo–from last to first, a scintillating performance!…,” 8-year-old Jeranimo, with Rafael Bejarano aloft, overhauled pacesetting Slim Shadey and Corey Nakatani to win Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths, winning for a record third time while covering 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:46 flat.
Run for the 67th time Saturday, the San Gabriel was taken for an unprecedented sixth time in-a-row by the remarkable Bejarano.
“This horse loves to sit back and relax,” said Bejarano. “He doesn’t like to be too close to the lead because he gets too excited. He was flying at the end and showed me a big kick. Nakatani was only four or five lengths in front of me, so I knew I just had to wait and I would catch him. I knew I had a lot of horse and just waited for the stretch.”
A San Gabriel winner in 2010 and 2013, Jeranimo, who is trained by Mike Pender, was second in the 2012 San Gabriel–when he was sent to the front early as the 3-5 favorite.
Off as the 6-5 favorite in a field of seven, Jeranimo paid $4.60, $2.80 and $2.60. Owned by B.J. Wright and Robert LaPenta, Jeranimo picked up $120,000 for the win, increasing his bankroll to $1,521,364. He now has 11 wins, six seconds and five thirds from 39 career starts.
“We had backed off his training a little (since running seventh in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Nov. 2), which I thought was best seeing as how he’s eight years old,” said Pender. “He didn’t drop as far out of it today as he had in some other races where he just didn’t fire so consequently, he had dead aim on the rest of the field throughout.
“We are going on a race-to-race basis with this horse. If he starts feeling good, we’ll run him. As you can see last year we ran him with more time in-between races than the year before. This race will probably take a little bit out of him so we’ll re-group and see what the future holds.”
English-bred Slim Shadey, ridden to perfection by Nakatani from the rail post position, was sent to the lead through splits of 23.23, 47.30, 1:11.20 and 1:34.34 and looked to have a commanding two-length advantage at the top of the stretch.
“I was hoping some of the other jockeys had been watching races and would realize that speed hasn’t been carrying that much,” said Nakatani. “He was pressured pretty much the whole way. I tip my hat to the winner, we got beat by a great horse.”
Off as the 2-1 second choice, Slim Shadey paid $3.80 and $3.20.
It was another 1 ½ lengths back to third place finisher Artic North and Joe Talamo, who finished a half length in front of longshot Utopian. Off at 9-1, Artic North paid $3.80 to show.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Sunday, with first post for a nine-race program at 12:30 p.m. The Grade II, $200,000 Monrovia Stakes, for older fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course, will serve as the afternoon’s feature.