Rafael Bejarano has ridden Midnight Interlude three times, all in stakes races on the turf, winning the Tsunami Slew by a neck in his first ride, on June 17. On Saturday, Bejarano hopes to pilot Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude to his first graded stakes win on turf in the Grade II Oak Tree Derby at 1 1/8 miles.

“I was blocked in the stretch in the La Jolla, but the last time I had a perfect trip,” Bejarano said, referring first to the Grade II La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar Aug. 13, in which he finished fourth, and then the Grade II Del Mar Derby in which he missed winning by a nose after leading into the stretch on Sept. 4.

“I was on the lead easy,” Bejarano said. “I was really comfortable. The trainer was really happy with his race last time.” That would be Bob Baffert, who conditions the 3-year-old War Chant colt for owner/breeder Arnold Zetcher.

“The horse can run either way, on the lead or from just off the pace,” Bejarano said. “He won before following the leader or he can be on the lead. He’s good either way. He’s shown a big heart in the stretch.”

Probable for the Oak Tree Derby: Cloud Man, Mike Smith; Midnight Interlude, Rafael Bejarano; Surrey Star, no rider; Thirtyfirststreet, Patrick Valenzuela; Ultimate Eagle, Martin Pedroza; and Venomous, Joel Rosario.


Simon Callaghan plans to double-team his rivals in next Sunday’s Grade III Harold C. Ramser Sr. Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf.

Callaghan, who saddled Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf contender Dubawi Heights to win the Grade I Yellow Ribbon Stakes on Oct. 1, has Imperialistic Diva and Up In Time ready to go in the Ramser.

“Up In Time won a Grade II at Del Mar (the San Clemente on July 24) and she’s training great here,” Callaghan said. “We’re very happy with her going into this race. I’m sure she’ll go there with a terrific chance.”

Up In Time, an English-bred daughter of Noverre, has not raced since Aug. 20, when she finished seventh, beaten less than five lengths after a wide trip in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks.

“Imperialistic Diva has only run once in the U.S. and was second and I think she’s improved from the experience,” Callaghan said of the Irish-bred chestnut. “She’s got some pretty nice form in Europe in stakes company, so although she’s going to be a longer price (than Up In Time), I think she’ll run a nice race.”

Probable for the Ramser: Celestial Kitten, Patrick Valenzuela; Entrustment, David Flores; Imperialistic Diva, no rider; Rosehill Dew, Brice Blanc; Sarah’s Secret, Mike Smith; and Up In Time, no rider.


The focus is on gold, not glory, for Team Bejarano.

Rafael Bejarano has won more than a dozen riding titles since becoming an overnight sensation in Southern California as a regular on the circuit four years ago at the behest of the late Bobby Frankel.

If additional riding titles come, so be it, but Bejarano’s agent, Joe Ferrer, is not obsessed with same. Bejarano, a 29-year-old native of Peru, maintains a familiar position in the Santa Anita standings in what looms another race to the finish with arch-rival Joel Rosario. Through Sunday, they were one-two in the standings with Rosario leading, 11-10.

“I’m not concerned about winning meets anymore,” Ferrer said. “I’m concerned about looking for good horses and the money-won category. He’s won enough meets in Southern California, and it’s always nice to win a meet but it’s not my main objective.”

Ferrer moved west full time with Bejarano after some persistent urging from Frankel, who died two years ago Nov. 16.

“He asked me three years in a row to come here,” Ferrer said of the Hall of Fame trainer. “I turned him down the first two years because I was going to Gulfstream. I thought with the slots, the purses there would be better.

“But the purses at Gulfstream didn’t increase, so the third year he asked me, I said ‘OK, I’ll come in for the winter.’ Actually, we came in towards the end of the Hollywood meeting (November of 2007) and then rode the Santa Anita meeting. Then we were going to back to Keeneland after that.

“But we won the Santa Anita meeting so we decided to stay for another meet. We won the Hollywood meeting, we won the Del Mar meeting, we won the Oak Tree meeting, we went back to Hollywood and won there again, we came back to Santa Anita and won that again, so here we are, four years later.”


Santa Anita has announced that it has launched an alternate website,, in an effort to reach a broader, younger audience by offering a wide array of content, much of which is not horse racing-specific.

“We know that we need to expand our fan base and try harder than ever to reach an audience that may not be familiar with our sport,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Marketing and Sales Chris Quinn. “Our intention is to make SantaAnitaLive much more than a racetrack website. We host so many events here, 365 days a year, that we needed a dedicated vehicle like SantaAnitaLive to be able to promote and entice people and organizations to consider Santa Anita Park for a vast number of events that we can host.”

Quinn also noted that with HBO’s “Luck” set to premier in January, SantaAnitaLive will be a valuable tool in helping to publicize the much-anticipated episodic series that will star Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina and others.

“We’re confident that ‘Luck’ has the potential to be a mega-hit and we’re hopeful it will instill interest in our sport and in Santa Anita in ways that we’ve never seen before,” said Quinn. “We hope to be able to work with the HBO people and promote through the use of still photos, trailers, etc, the essence of what all of us hope ‘Luck’ will be,” he said.

Santa Anita’s Director of Community Services and Special Projects, Pete Siberell, who has worked closely with HBO on-site, views SantaAnitaLive as a tool to further develop the “Luck” story.

“We anticipate a good many people coming to Santa Anita to check out where various scenes have been shot. With this new website, we hope to bring ‘Luck’ to life at Santa Anita Park,” said Siberell.

In addition to “Luck,” it is anticipated that many more entertainment and sports celebrities will be regular attendees at Santa Anita in the weeks and months ahead.

“SantaAnitaLive is going to be a great way for people to stay in touch and to get a sense of the fun and the buzz that we hope to be able to create and sustain,” said Quinn. Prominent among many special events scheduled to take place at Santa Anita in coming months are the annual Santa Anita Derby 5K Walk and Run, the California Philharmonic’s “Festival on the Green” summer concert series and a continuation of Santa Anita’s highly successful Gourmet Food Truck Festivals.

“SantaAnitaLive will also offer people tips on local lodging and dining and we’ll thus be in better contact with our friends and neighbors in the local business community. We’re hoping that people will look to this website when they’re thinking about a restaurant or if they live out of the area, that they’ll check with us first before making hotel reservations,” Quinn added.

SantaAnitaLive will also offer “Tips and Tricks,” which will serve as an insiders guide to Santa Anita and all that it has to offer. Wagering terminology, which is often intimidating to newcomers, will also be explained fully.


The annual Burbank Road Kings car show, co-hosted by Santa Anita Park, returns next Sunday to Santa Anita. Hot rods, modifieds, street rods, sports cars, restored classics and muscle cars will be among the vehicles on display in the track infield from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Children 17 and under will be admitted free with a parent. Food, beverages, pony rides, face painting and much more will be available.

For further information, call 818 842-KING.

FINISH LINES: Euroears, who disappointed in the Vosburgh after winning the Grade I Bing Crosby, worked four furlongs under Martin Garcia on Santa Anita’s main track Monday in :48.40, breezing, for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 5. “He went nice,” Bob Baffert said. “He looked really good.” The Hall of Fame trainer also had Norfolk Stakes runner-up Drill out for a gallop as he prepares for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile . . . California Horse Racing Board official and Santa Anita steward Scott Chaney finished 80th in his division and 319th overall among 1,800 competitors in the Iron Man World Championship in Kona, Hawaii Saturday. Chaney swam 2.4 miles in :59.10; rode the bike 112 miles in 5:27.58; and ran 26.2 miles in 3:15.57 . . . There were 175 contestants remaining in ShowVivor entering Monday’s races, down from 198 on Sunday . . . Santa Anita’s Paddock Room is open for simulcast wagering on Wednesdays. Gates open at 10:30 a.m.