Veteran jockey Rafael Bejarano overcame a racing mishap Friday to win four stakes races Saturday at Santa Anita Park. Bejarano escaped serious injury when he was thrown in the fifth race Friday.
The 30-year-old rider is represented by jockey agent Joe Ferrer who knew his client would return for Saturday's program.
"Immediately, because he said he fell on his head but he was able to roll, and when you can roll, the initial impact isn't as hard as when you hit and don't roll," Ferrer said about when Bejarano would fulfill his engagements for Saturday, "He told paramedics he was OK. I talked to Rafael on the phone, and Jimmy Barnes (trainer Bob Baffert's top assistant) went and saw him in the ambulance.
"I asked Jimmy to give him the phone and Rafael told me he was fine, 'Don't worry about it. I'll call you back in 10 minutes.' When he told me that, I knew that he was riding the next day."
Three of Saturday's stakes victories were for Baffert, including the $250,000 Awesome Again with Game On Dude.
"(Rafael) works really hard and knows these horses better than anyone," noted Baffert. "Him and Martin Garcia know the horse really well. This horse is just getting better and better, and when he gets on dirt, he's a different horse.
(Rafael) rides a lot of favorites, and sometimes it's not going to work, but he handles the pressure really well. When you're 1-5, he knows just keep him out of trouble and let them run their race. If they win, they win. If they get beat, give them a chance."
Saturday's other stakes wins for Bejarano were the Chandelier aboard Executiveprivilege, Unzip Me Stakes with Byrama and FrontRunner Stakes aboard Power Broker. Sunday the jockey recorded a maiden and allowance victories.