Legendary jockey Bill Shoemaker came in second to record-setter Kent Desormeaux twice at Laurel Race Course on Saturday as the 58-year-old Hall of Famer made the last Maryland appearance of his career.
Shoemaker, whose 8,839 victories are the most by any jockey, finished second with both of his mounts to Desormeaux, 19. Shoemaker plans to ride his final race in February at Santa Anita.
“I had a great time today. It’s not too bad to come in second to the best jockey in the United States today,” Shoemaker said.
Learned Jake, 7-5 favorite in a field of six, carried Desormeaux to his fifth victory of the day and 594th of the year in the 16th running of the $100,000 Congressional Handicap.
Shoemaker, riding Due North, led briefly early in the stretch before Learned Jake rallied down the center of the track to win by four lengths in 2:01 4/5, a fifth of a second over the track record for 1 1/4 miles.
In the fourth race, Shoemaker rode Harrington and was leading a field of seven 3-year-olds early in the stretch. Desormeaux swung Arctic Reality to the outside and the two horses collided before Arctic Reality pulled away for the victory.
Desormeaux has been named to ride in nine of 11 races on today’s final card of the year. He needs six winners to reach his goal of 600 for the year.