ARCADIA, Calif. (April 11, 2013)—With the self-effacing cool of the late Bill Shoemaker, leading rider Rafael Bejarano picked up his fourth win of the day as he guided 9-5 favorite Top Kisser to an uneventful one length win in Thursday’s $58,000 Hesperia Purse, covering one mile on turf in 1:34.72 as he rang up his 22nd win from 35 mounts for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and his 80th win overall.
Breaking from post position three in a 10-horse field, Top Kisser broke alertly and was immediately engaged by longshot Thermal Nermal, who broke from the four-hole with Joe Talamo.
“I know my horse won wire to wire last time (March 23, going one mile on turf), but I was able to let Talamo go and my filly was comfortable sitting second,” said Bejarano. “I was in a good position the whole way and when we came to the stretch, I waited a little bit, because I knew the number 11 (Miss Pippa, with Garrett Gomez) was going to be running but my filly ran great, no problem.”
Top Kisser overtook Thermal Nermal with a furlong to go and comfortably held off Miss Pippa, who was the second choice at 7-2.
A 4-year-old California-bred filly by Old Topper, Top Kisser is owned by her breeder, Tommy Town Thoroughbreds LLC. She paid $5.80, $3.80 and $2.80.
“We talked about other horses trying for the lead and Rafael decided that if someone went crazy then he was just going to try and rate her,” said Hollendorfer. “She did rate today and we were very pleased with that new dimension instead of just having to have the front end.”
With the winner’s share of $45,240, Top Kisser hiked her bankroll to $133,840 and improved her record to 5-3-2-0.
Miss Pippa broke from the far outside and although she had shown good speed in three previous routes, Gomez had her next to last early behind splits of 22.95, 46.52, 1:10.44 and 1:22.47. He angled her to the rail turning for home and was second best, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of pacesetting Thermal Nermal and returned $4.80 and $3.60.
Off at 18-1, Thermal Nermal fought gallantly but could not withstand the pressure applied by the winner a furlong out and ended up third, a half length in front of Dime Piece and Corey Nakatani.
Thermal Nermal paid $7.40 to show.
There was one winning ticket in Thursday’s Pick Six, worth $44,270.60. It was purchased in Las Vegas, Nv.
First post time on Friday is 1 p.m.