Laffit Pincay, riding maiden and claiming horses Saturday as though they were running in the Kentucky Derby, became the first jockey to win seven races in one day at Santa Anita.
After sitting out the first race, Pincay won the next six, tying a Santa Anita record for successive wins that had been set by Bill Shoemaker in 1962.
After finishing third aboard Bob Back in the eighth race, the $75,000 San Marino Handicap, Pincay broke the Santa Anita record by riding Bedouin to a 1-length victory in the ninth and last race.
The 40-year old Pincay had shared the Santa Anita record of six wins in one day with four other riders--Shoemaker, Steve Valdez, Sandy Hawley and Darrel McHargue. Pincay, Hawley and McHargue had each ridden six winners in a day twice at the track.
According to the American Racing Manual, Pincay’s feat was the 25th time that a jockey had won seven times in the same day. The record is eight, held by five riders, including Hubert Jones, a Santa Anita steward who turned 60 Saturday. Jones won eight times the day he rode all 13 races at Caliente in 1944.
Pincay, who won the last race he rode Friday, actually had seven straight wins going into Saturday’s stake. It was Shoemaker in the San Marino, rallying Rosedale on the outside for the victory while Forlitano and Bob Back were battling for the lead during a long stretch drive, who snapped Pincay’s string.
Pincay’s winners Saturday were Polly’s Ruler (paying $4 to win), Texas Wild ($8.40), Cracksman ($5.20), Fairways Girl ($9), Lookinforthebigone ($18.40), Integra ($6.80) and Bedouin ($11.20). Only two of the winners--Polly’s Ruler and Cracksman--were favored.
Obviously inspired after winning with his first four mounts, Pincay’s ride on Lookinforthebigone, a three-year old colt making his first start, was a classic.
Penasco, ridden by Gary Stevens, got a neck ahead of the front-running Lookinforthebigone in mid-stretch and had Pincay and his mount in tight quarters on the rail.
Pincay hit Lookinforthebigone once right-handed, then deftly switched to the left hand for six whacks that got his mount to the wire just in time.
“I thought I might win three or four today,” Pincay said. “The mare in the fifth (Fairways Girl) surprised me a little, but I thought she had a chance. And I thought the (Wayne) Lukas horse (Lookinforthebigone) needed a race. He had been working slow, but Wayne said he could run.”
Pincay, who has 90 wins after 60 days of racing at Santa Anita, padded his lead in the jockey standings. Stevens is next on the list with 62.
“I won six in a day about six different times back home in Panama,” Pincay said. “I knew I had a chance to win the ninth, but I didn’t put any pressure on myself. When he (Bedouin) started making the lead in the stretch, I said to myself ‘I think I’ve got it.’ ”
Earlier Saturday, Pincay and his agent, Tony Matos, made the decision to ride Masterful Advocate in the Santa Anita Derby April 4. A conflict was possible that day, since the Lukas-trained Capote, last year’s champion two-year colt, is scheduled to run in the Gotham Stakes at Aquedect. Pincay rode Capote to his title-clinching win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita last November.
Pincay was aboard Masterful Advocate for his win in the San Rafael Stakes, a victory that will make him the favorite in the Santa Anita Derby.
“Wayne knows I’ve been riding Masterful Advocate, and that horse is way ahead of Capote now,” Pincay said.
Capote hasn’t run yet this year and Masterful Advocate has won three straight as a three-year old.