Edgar Prado became only the third jockey in history to record 1,000 victories over two years yesterday when he steered Halfway North to a 2 3/4 -length win over Savanna Dawn in Laurel Park's sixth race.
He joined Chris McCarron and Kent Desormeaux in the exclusive club but became the first to accomplish the feat without the benefit of the 5-pound weight break allowed to apprentice riders. Both McCarron and Desormeaux were apprentices in the first of their two years and first-year journeymen in their second.
"They did it with the bug, but they were a little more inexperienced than me, too," said Prado, 31, with customary modesty. "So, it's not really more special this way."
In the winner's circle after the race, Laurel vice president Karin De Francis said of Prado, "This is a testament to his skills, courage and ability as a world-class athlete.
"We in Maryland are fortunate to have one of the country's best riders in our jockey colony."
The Peruvian-born Prado led the nation with 536 winners in 1997 and currently has 464 this year after the single victory yesterday. He believes 500 this year is unreachable.
"With five dark days here, I don't think I can get there," he said, referring to the Christmas break in local racing starting Sunday.
"But if I had to, I would have gone to other tracks to make 1,000."
McCarron totaled 1,014 wins in 1974-75, and Desormeaux broke that record with 1,072 in 1988-89 while riding at numerous tracks besides Maryland's.
All three achieved the milestone while riding primarily in this state.
Prado started the day needing only one win and missed with favorites in the first two races and a third choice in the fifth. Then, Costas N. Triantafilos' 2-year-old filly provided the breakthrough in a 6-furlong claiming race. She paid $5.80 to win.
"It's amazing only three riders have been able to do this, and I thank God I'm one of them," said Prado.
"A lot of credit goes to the many good trainers I ride for, those who showed the confidence in me to keep me on winning horses.
"My agent Steve Rushing has done a tremendous job. It's very hard to please everyone when you're in demand."
Rushing said most trainers have been understanding when Prado does not accept their mounts.
"They've been good," said Rushing, who often has his choices of calls in any specific race. "Basically, they will let him off to ride a better horse. Most of the time there is no problem."
Rushing said there are no plans afoot to do anything else except "start all over for 500 next year. The people around the country know Edgar is one of the top riders."
Prado could be prominent in the Triple Crown picture next year aboard Millions, a talented 2-year-old trained at Pimlico by Leon Blusiewicz.
NOTE: An odd turn of events occurred in the seventh race when jockey Greg Hutton, who finished second aboard Golden Allen, claimed foul against Francisco Maysonett, who rode Mimsy to first place.
Mimsy remained on top in the re-arranged order, but Golden Allen was placed fourth after the stewards judged that Hutton's horse had impeded Mimsy, who was coming up inside of Golden Allen on the rail.
Pub Date: 12/19/98