Edgar Prado, Gulfstream Park's jockey champion two years ago and perennially among the local leading riders in recent seasons, rode his 5,000th career victory in Saturday's Grade 3 Swale Stakes, the co-featured event for 3-year-olds one race after the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Prado, 36, scored the milestone win aboard Martin L. Cherry's Wynn Dot Comma, a sophomore colt trained by Marty Wolfson. Prado was congratulated on his achievement by Gulfstream Park president Scott Savin during winner's circle ceremonies immediately following the Swale, the 10th race on Saturday's Florida Derby Day program.
"I was working real hard since yesterday to get this win," said Prado. He added, "The way I figured it in [the Swale], I had two horses to beat. One was a sprinter (Chapel Royal) and one was a closer (Eurosilver), and everything worked out perfect. Like I said before, this is both an end and a beginning for me, because now is the time to start working toward 6,000 wins." He went right to work at it, winning race number 5,001 right after, aboard Dedication in the Marshua's River Stakes. Asked about Laffit Pincay's record of 9,531, he said, "The more I think about it, the more discouraged I get."
Prado almost got his 5,000th win via disqualification in the second. Sir Shackleton, under Javier Castellano, appeared to drift into Prado's path aboard Willy o'the Valley in the stretch. Prado claimed foul, but the stewards disallowed it. "That would have taken some of the flavor off of it," Prado said. "I think this was better, winning by a head in a stakes race."
Born in Lima, Peru on June 10, 1967 and now a resident of Hollywood, Florida, the 5'4" Prado became the 19th jockey in Thoroughbred racing history to reach the 5,000-win mark. The popular reinsman moved to the cusp of 5,000 wins with a five-win day Thursday - the best single day performance by any jockey during the current Gulfstream season.
He came from a family of horsemen; his father was a trainer in his native Peru, while both of his brothers were also jockeys. Jorge Prado retired from riding and is now a trainer, while Anibal Prado rides at Philadelphia Park. His first winning ride was in October 1983, and he moved to America in 1986, getting his first win in the U.S. aboard Single Love on June 1 of that year at Calder Race Course.
Prado with Belmont Stakes winner Sarava.
Prado, the leading rider in the nation for three straight years from 1997- 99, began his career in Peru in 1984 before coming to the United States in 1986. Through most of the 1990's he rode the Maryland circuit, and was leading rider there in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1997. Moving his tack to New York in 1999, he rode his 4,000th winner at Belmont Park in May of 2000.
Among Prado's career highlights are a win in the 2002 Belmont Stakes aboard Sarava at 70-1 and a triumph earlier that year in the Florida Derby astride Harlan's Holiday. In 2003 he rode Peace Rules to Grade 1 wins in the Blue Grass Stakes and the Haskell Invitational. In recognition of his accomplishments, he won the George Woolf Memorial Award from the Jockeys' Guild last year, as well as the Fourstardave Award for outstanding achievement at Saratoga.
-from Gulfstream Park and NTRA press releases
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