Horse racing, Santa Anita

Who’s going to replace Rafael Bejarano?

The injuries leading Southern California jockey Rafael Bejarano suffered last week in an ugly breakdown on the down hill turf course at Santa Anita will certainly have ramifications possibly all the way into the Del Mar meet.

As of Wednesday, Bejarano was waiting to be released from the hospital with numerous broken bones. There has been no reports on how long he will be out. Best guess I see is he will be out until at least the start of the Del Mar meet in mid-July.

So who takes over in the Southern California riding colony?

The suspects like Joe Talamo, Tyler Baze, Corey Nakatani and Edwin Maldonado are obvious. Maldonado is the last jockey to beat Bejarano out of a riding title. He has slumped subsequently, changed agents and maybe he’s ready to get on top of the mountain.

We’ll wait to see if veterans Mike Smith and Gary Stevens decide to pick up more mounts due to Bejarano’s injury.

Again, look out for apprentice Drayden Van Dyke, He’s good and learning every day on the job, but don’t look now because there are a pair of newcomers ready to hit the winner’s circle.

Nomad Kent Desormeaux has returned to Southern California on a full-time basis, at least for now. He said in an interview on HRTV last week that he was buying a house in So Cal and putting down roots again. He has some baggage, like inconsistent riding and alcohol-related issues, but if he has his head on straight, he will be a welcome addition.

The interesting addition to the Santa Anita riding colony will be Elvis Trujillo. Agent Tom Knust said he had picked up Trujillo’s book and the jockey would be riding locally full-time by the end of the month.

Trujillo has been based at Gulfstream Park and competed with the best on the East Coast all winter. He was one of the top grass riders on the circuit and he proved that on Sunday in Arcadia when he won a race down the hill. Trujillo was subbing for Mario Gutierrez (personal issue) who took off his two mounts for trainer Doug O’Neill.

Trujillo will be an interesting addition and we’ll see how fast trainers flock to him. Local trainers usually wait to see if a jock wants to stay before committing.

We already know O’Neill will give him mounts so watch to see if top barns like John Sadler, Jerry Hollendorfer and Peter Miller give him mounts. If they do, Elvis will stay in the building.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 3 (Artest $52.60, second race; Fanny Brice $3.80, fifth; Maker of Breaker $4.60, eighth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 4 (Goyan $6, first; Friendswith K Mill $4.20, third; Eddie’s First $4.20, fourth; Pressure Time $17.80, ninth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 0

Sunday’s long shout winners: 1 (Coo Cachoo $17.20, sixth)


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