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:
|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|
Patrons 62 & and older will receive $5 general admission on Wednesdays.
|$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|
|T-Shirt & Ball Cap||April 25|
|Hollywood Legends DVD||May 25|
|Baseball Jersey||July 5|
|Gold Cup Julep Glass||July 11|
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