Bejarano Rides Backbackbackgone In Hollywood Park Opener

Racing News
Posted 04.19.09 at 1:49

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Rafael Bejarano, winner of the last six major Southern California riding titles, has the mount on Backbackbackgone as Hollywood Park’s 70th Spring/Summer Meet opens Wednesday with the $70,000-added Harry Henson Stakes.

The Harry Henson will run as the seventh race on the eight-race program, which begins at 1 p.m.

Bejarano, who shipped his tack west during the 2007 Autumn Meet at Hollywood Park, swept the five major Southern California titles in 2008 and was leading jockey at the 2009 Santa Anita meeting, which concluded Sunday. He rode 56 winners for his first Hollywood Park title at the 60-day Spring/Summer Meet in 2008.

Backbackbackgone, winner of his first three starts, was not included in that total, but he did capture the Willard Proctor Memorial here in his second career start last May. Bejarano was up one start later when he won the Jack Goodman by a nose at Santa Anita. The Florida-bred won the Golden Bear at Golden Gate Fields in his 3-year-old debut and was given a rest following a tenth-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulfstream Park in late January.

He will be making his first start on turf while facing five other 3-year-olds in the six-furlong Harry Henson. The field lines up as follows:

Dream Now, with Tyler Baze up, carries 117 pounds; Luckiest Man, Joseph Talamo, 117; Backbackbackgone, Bejarano, 121; Position A, Victor Espinoza, 117; Mi Forest Amor, David Flores, 117, and Wall Street Wonder, Joel Rosario, 117.

First post time has been moved ahead 20 minutes Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays for the 2009 meeting with the standard 7:05 p.m. start on Friday nights. The lone exception in the Friday night schedule will be a 1 p.m. post time on May 1 — Kentucky Oaks Day and eve of the Kentucky Derby.

There will be four other post time adjustments during the 13-week meeting, which concludes Sunday, July 19.

Opening Saturday post time will be at 12:30 p.m. for the tenth annual California Gold Rush program. Kentucky Derby Day — Saturday, May 2 — will feature an 11 a.m. post time, as will Preakness Day (May 16) and Belmont Day (June 6).

The only deviation from the Wednesday-through-Sunday schedule will be a six-day week concluding with a special Memorial Day program on Monday, May 25, followed by a four-day week beginning Thursday, May 28.

Thursdays will feature free General Admission and $1 hot dogs, beers and sodas. In keeping with Hollywood Park tradition, the $1 price on hot dogs, sodas and beers will remain in effect for Friday night racing. The $1 beers will be available from 12 noon until 3 p.m. on Thursdays and from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Fridays.

Regular prices are $8 for General Admission, $10 for Clubhouse and $20 for Turf Club. Seniors 62 and older will receive a $3 discount on Wednesdays. All prices include parking and an official program.

The $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup and the $700,000 American Oaks anchor an $8-million stakes schedule.

The eighth running of the American Oaks is scheduled for Sunday, July 5, along with the $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap. Both are Grade I events. The Hollywood Gold Cup, also a Grade I race, will be run for the 70th time on Saturday, July 11 — same day as the Grade II Royal Heroine Mile.

There are 49 races on the stakes schedule, including seven Grade I events. There are ten Grade II races and 11 Grade III races. There will be seven days with multiple stakes races, beginning with the tenth annual $1.3-million California Gold Rush on Saturday.

First Grade I race on the schedule is the $250,000-added Shoemaker Mile on Memorial Day — Monday, May 25. The Shoemaker, first run as the Premiere Handicap on Hollywood Park’s inaugural opening day on June 10, 1938, will be contested for the 66th time.

Spring/Summer Meet facts follow:

  • 65 days, Wednesday, April 22, through Sunday, July 19.
  • First live post time is 1 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays. Post time on Fridays is 7:05 p.m. with the exception of a 1 p.m. post time on Friday, May 1 — Kentucky Oaks Day and eve of the Kentucky Derby. There is a special 12:30 p.m. post time on Saturday, April 25 (California Gold Rush Day). Post time will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 2 (Kentucky Derby Day), Saturday, May 16 (Preakness Day) and Saturday, June 6 (Belmont Day).
  • Gates open at 10:15 a.m. with the exception of 7 a.m. May 1-2 and 8:30 a.m. on May 16 and June 6.
  • Admission Prices: General $8; Clubhouse $10; Turf Club $25.
  • Free General Admission & Dollar Specials: Free General Admission on Thursdays with $1 hot dogs and sodas throughout the Hollywood Park program and $1 beers from noon until 3 p.m. Hot dogs and sodas are also $1 Friday nights with $1 beers from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
  • Friday night concerts: Concerts following the final race on Friday nights in the North Park for the general admission cost of $8. After 10 p.m., concert admission is $20. The concert lineup:

KC and The Sunshine Band April 24
Steele Pulse May 8
Roberto Incelli May 15
Queen Nation May 22
Hollywood U2 May 29
World Classic Rockers June 5
The Police Experience June 12
English Beat June 19
Atomic Punks June 26
Low Rider July 3
Eek a Mouse July 10
The Romantics July 17

Seniors: Patrons 62 & and older will receive $5 general admission on Wednesdays.

Grade I Races:

$250,000-added Shoemaker Mile Monday, May 25
$250,000-added Gamely Stakes Saturday, May 30
$300,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap Saturday, June 6
$300,000 Vanity Handicap Saturday, June 27
$700,000 American Oaks Sunday, July 5
$300,000 Triple Bend Handicap Sunday, July 5
$700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup Saturday, July 11

Premium Items:

T-Shirt & Ball Cap April 25
Hollywood Legends DVD May 25
Baseball Jersey July 5
Gold Cup Julep Glass July 11

  • Mother’s Day Buffet: — Sunday, May 10. Call (310) 419-1601 for reservations.
  • Father’s Day Buffet: — Sunday, June 21. Call (310) 419-1601 for reservations.
  • Guaranteed $500,000 Pick Six: California Gold Rush Day — April 25; Memorial Day — May 25; American Oaks Day — July 5; Hollywood Gold Cup Day — July 11.
  • Leading Jockey (2008): Rafael Bejarano swept the five major Southern California meeting titles in 2008 and will be aiming for his seventh straight at the Spring/Summer Meet.
  • Leading Trainer (2008): John Sadler won his second Hollywood Park title and first Spring/Summer title with 30 winners at the 2008 meeting.

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