Rafael Bejarano is once again the runaway leader in Santa Anita’s jockeys’ standings as he pursues yet another riding title at The Great Race Place. Through 28 racing days, Bejarano held a 31-21 lead over runner-up Kent Desormeaux.

Tonight, both riders will be on hand for the 48th annual Santa Anita Jockeys vs. Holy Angels School Charity Basketball Game at La Salle High School in Pasadena.

Desormeaux, a native of Louisiana where greats such as Shaquille O’Neill and the late Pistol Pete Maravich starred at LSU, is well known for his basketball prowess. Bejarano, a native of Peru, will contribute what he can. It’s all for a worthy cause.

Proceeds benefit the Holy Angels athletic program, the Kentucky-based Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) and the Eye on Jacob Foundation.

Sponsored by J. Paul Reddam’s CashCall and Santa Anita Park, game time is 7:15 p.m., with admission doors opening at 6:15 p.m.

Hall of Fame jockeys Desormeaux, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Mike Smith, Alex Solis and Gary Stevens will be available for an autograph signing session beginning at 6:30 p.m.

With Pincay serving as honorary team captain, Desormeaux, Smith and Solis will comprise a team of fellow active riders such as William Antongeorgi, Tyler Baze, Bejarano, Brice Blanc, Brandon Boulanger, Victor Espinoza, Santiago Gonzalez, Mario Gutierrez, Aaron Gryder, Edwin Maldonado, Felipe Martinez, Corey Nakatani, Irving Orozco, Martin Pedroza, Fernando Perez, Tiago Pereira, Flavien Prat, Iggy Puglisi, Kayla Stra, Joe Talamo, Elvis Trujillo, Drayden Van Dyke and perhaps others.

The PDJF helps assist permanently disabled jockeys nationwide, while the Eye on Jacob Foundation, named for Jacob Desormeaux, who is the 16-year-old son of Kent, benefits those suffering from Usher’s Syndrome. An extremely rare neurological disorder, Usher’s Syndrome causes progressive loss of hearing, imbalance, and eventual loss of sight in approximately 14,000 children in the United States.

HRTV’s Kurt Hoover, a former standout basketball player at Arcadia High School, will again coach the jockeys.

Tickets are $5 per person, and for every two tickets purchased, individuals receive one free admission ticket to Santa Anita. Additionally, there will be opportunities to win a trip to Las Vegas and a Paintball Package to Hollywood Sports Paintball and Airsoft Park.

La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, approximately four miles northwest of Santa Anita. Admission tickets and promotional tee shirts are on sale at Champions! Gifts and Apparel in Santa Anita’s East Paddock Gardens, or through Holy Angels School.



Eric Kruljac anticipates better luck when Blingismything runs in Monday’s Presidents’ Day feature, the Grade II, $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf.

“He had to wait and wait and wait,” the trainer said of Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, who rode the 5-year-old Arch mare to a second by a half-length in the Megahertz Stakes on Jan. 17. “He said he made the wrong decision or he would have won anyway, even after waiting.

“We’re hoping she gets some graded black type to enhance her broodmare value.”

Blingismything, owned by Joe Masino’s Class Racing Stable, worked five furlongs on the main track Sunday in 1:01.40.

            Monday is Dollar Day at Santa Anita. Fans can partake of draft beers, hot dogs and sodas for just a buck. First post time is 12:30 p.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m.



Trainer Jim Cassidy hopes Yahilwa can take advantage of her speed when she breaks from the rail in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

“We’ll see what other kind of speed is in there,” Cassidy said, “but you can’t give up your position.”

A 5-year-old Medaglia d’Oro mare, Yahilwa (freely translated from Arabic, it means beautiful woman) has been on or near the lead in most of her 12 U.S. starts.

The field for the Santa Maria: Yahilwa, Gary Stevens, 6-1; Thegirlinthatsong, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Tiz Midnight, Victor Espinoza, 3-1; Uzziel, Fernando Perez, 20-1; Legacy, Joe Talamo, 15-1; Warren’s Veneda, Tyler Baze, 5-2; Sweet Marini, Martin Garcia, 8-1; Awesome Baby, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Backintheacademy, Brandon Boulanger, 20-1; and Valiant Emilia, Tiago Pereira, 12-1.



Beholder could make her return to the races in the Grade I, $350,000 Madison Stakes at seven furlongs at Keeneland on April 4, Richard Mandella said Thursday morning.

An Eclipse Award winner at age two and three, the 5-year-old daughter of Henny Hughes owned by B. Wayne Hughes had her first recorded workout Tuesday since being sidelined prior to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff last Oct. 31, going three furlongs in 36.80.

“She’s six to eight weeks away,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “The Madison is the race we’re considering.”


FINISH LINES: Undefeated Delta Jackpot winner Ocho Ocho Ocho worked fivefurlongs in 59.40 under jockey Santiago Gonzalez for the Grade II, $400,000San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 7. “I got him in 59,” trainer Jim Cassidy said of the son of Street Sense. “He’s an amazing little horse. He galloped out (six furlongs) in 12 and two and seven eighths in (one) 27. I didn’t want to do that much. I thought he’d go in about a minute, to be honest with you.” Gonzalez, meanwhile, has caught the eye of horsemen and handicappers, winning four races this meet, three for Cassidy. “He’s all right,” Cassidy said in an understated endorsement of the rider who is represented by former trainer Craig Stephen . . . Bargain claim Big Macher, winner of the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar, has been invited to the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai on March 28, but trainer Richard Baltas said he would “play it by ear” as to whether the California-bred son of Beau Genius would run on the straightaway sprint course . . . European invader Spirit of Xian makes her U.S. debut in Saturday’s $75,000 Sweet Life Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf. The Irish-bred daughter of Kodiac shows a bullet work for her first start since last Sept. 20. “She’s doing well,” Richard Mandella said. “We’ll just have to see how good she is.” The Sweet Life attracted 14 entrants, including two on the also-eligible list . . . Trainer Simon Callaghan has either the Grade III, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby on March 22 or the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 4 penciled in for Robert B. Lewis Stakes runner-up Firing Line . . . Dan Ward goes from the frying pan into the frost when he leaves 90-ish temperatures in LA to near-freezing clime at Laurel in Maryland when Jerry Hollendorfer‘s assistant saddles Grade I La Brea winner Sam’s Sister in Saturday’s Barbara Fritchie Handicap and Outside Nashville in Monday’s Grade III, $250,000 General George Handicap for 3-year-olds and up . . . Four Santa Anita-based riders will be at Golden Gate Saturday for the El Camino Real Derby: Kent Desormeaux (Mischief Clem); Mike Smith (Conquest Typhoon); Alex Solis (Metaboss); and Drayden Van Dyke (Ernest Shackleton) . . . There was one winning Pick Six ticket Sunday worth $99,456, purchased through Xpressbet . . . For the second time in five days, former agent Harry (The Hat) Hacek was a visitor at Clockers’ Corner Thursday. Asked if he was thinking of coming out of retirement and what it would take, Hacek said, “Eddie Hartshoe,” squashing together the names of the late riding legends Eddie Arcaro, Bill Hartack and Bill Shoemaker. “I took a couple months off to freshen up and it turned into 10 years,” said Hacek, who last was active in 2005 when he represented Desormeaux . . . Show me the money: When Crimson Giant finished third in Sunday’s ninth race, it marked the 15th time from 65 starts that the 6-year-old gelded son of Formal Gold trained by Charles Stutts has finished in that spot, or 23 percent of the time . . . While Rafael Bejarano leads Santa Anita’s riders in wins, Tyler Baze is ahead of him in total mounts through 28 days, 136 to 134. Joe Talamo will close ground in that category today as he is named to ride seven horses, missing only the fourth race. He has ridden 118 horses, the same as Elvis Trujillo. Bejarano has a comfortable 31-21 lead over runner-up Desormeaux in the jockeys’ race . . . Hollendorfer leads Peter Miller among trainers, 19-16. Each is winning at a 21 percent clip, far from Eddie Truman‘s 44 percent (four for nine) . . . Santa Anita’s average for winning favorites continues above the national norm of about 33 percent at 37.76 percent (91 of 241). Winning favorites on dirt stand at 41.07 percent (69 of 168) and at 30.14 on turf (22 of 73) . . . CHRB spokesman Mike Marten advises that longtime horse owner Theo “Red” Alton passed away in Hesperia, Calif., on Jan. 7 at age 72.


(Current Through Sunday, Feb. 8)          
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won  
Rafael Bejarano 134 31 22 18 23% $1,506,994  
Kent Desormeaux 98 21 15 10 21% $1,174,552  
Victor Espinoza 86 17 16 10 20% $1,146,210  
Tyler Baze 136 16 12 16 12% $987,764  
Elvis Trujillo 118 14 16 9 12% $893,922  
Drayden Van Dyke 112 14 13 17 13% $765,476  
Joseph Talamo 118 13 14 18 11% $966,278  
Mike Smith 64 13 13 10 20% $1,247,641  
Corey Nakatani 69 12 8 8 17% $629,420  
Martin Garcia 71 11 12 10 15% $1,045,330  
Martin Pedroza 95 10 16 10 11% $442,780  
Fernando Perez 98 9 9 8 9% $391,962  
Gary Stevens 53 9 7 9 17% $705,402  
Flavien Prat 59 9 5 6 15% $425,430  
Tiago Pereira 63 6 5 8 10% $198,004  
Edwin Maldonado 60 6 3 8 10% $250,146  
Brandon Boulanger 66 5 3 6 8% $132,336  
Santiago Gonzalez 38 4 4 8 11% $133,250  
Felipe Valdez 17 4 4 3 24% $87,980  
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won  
Jerry Hollendorfer 92 19 13 10 21% $1,928,534  
Peter Miller 76 16 16 7 21% $954,680  
Bob Baffert 54 10 12 8 19% $1,118,268  
Doug O’Neill 75 9 8 10 12% $486,056  
Philip D’Amato 41 8 8 7 20% $419,460  
Peter Eurton 42 8 6 7 19% $383,678  
John Sadler 61 7 10 10 11% $473,146  
Mark Casse 39 7 5 5 18% $594,800  
Mark Glatt 40 6 8 6 15% $323,624  
Richard Mandella 31 6 5 5 19% $295,910  
Hector Palma 17 6 2 0 35% $116,180  
James Cassidy 36 5 5 7 14% $201,080  
Richard Baltas 34 5 5 3 15% $183,868  
Carla Gaines 25 5 3 1 20% $297,945  
Ron Ellis 30 5 2 5 17% $197,450