Eddie Delahoussaye says he doesn't pay attention to racing's numbers game, but on Sunday he couldn't avoid it. After Delahoussaye had crossed the wire aboard the horse that sent him over the $100-million mark in purses, Hollywood Park's management handed him a large poster that blared the accomplishment.
"I've never looked at the statistics," Delahoussaye said. "Oh, I might look at them once in a while, but not every day. I just want to win races and get good horses to ride. I'll take time to look at the statistics later."
Delahoussaye became the seventh jockey to reach $100 million by winning a stakes race with a start-stop-start ride that has become a trademark. In the $161,900 Hollywood Oaks, Delahoussaye sent Fowda to the lead, let her drop back under a slow pace as three rivals passed on the backstretch and then helped her outfinish Grand Girlfriend in a stretch duel.
Favored Fowda won by a nose, with Grand Girlfriend finishing four lengths ahead of Masake, the third-place finisher before 23,928. The field for the 1 1/8-mile race was reduced to seven with the scratch of Winglet, Fowda's stablemate, who developed a swelling in her right hind leg.
A victory on Burnished Bronze on Saturday in the $100,000 Ladbroke Futurity at Golden Gate Fields and four in-the-money finishes earlier on Sunday's program had pushed Delahoussaye to within $26,217 of $100 million going into the Oaks. Fowda's victory, in 1:49 3/5, was worth $94,400 to breeder and owner Allen Paulson, and Delahoussaye probably earned the standard jockey's fee of 10% for winning.
Only six riders, all of them active except Bill Shoemaker, made it to $100 million before Delahoussaye. Angel Cordero Jr. heads the list with about $158 million. After him come Laffit Pincay Jr., $156 million; Chris McCarron, $133 million; Shoemaker, $123 million; Jorge Velasquez, $113 million, and Pat Day, $104 million. McCarron rode Grand Girlfriend.
Delahoussaye, who will turn 40 Sept. 21, flew to Denver last week to visit Shoemaker in a hospital, where the Hall of Fame jockey is still paralyzed from injuries suffered in an automobile accident in San Dimas April 8.
"Shoe, Ray Broussard, Don Brumfield, those were the guys I learned from when I was coming up," Delahoussaye said. "I learned more from riding by watching Shoe than I did from anybody."
Delahoussaye's first winner was Brown Shill at Evangeline Downs on June 29, 1968. He said that the purse might have been $2,000. Five years later, visiting his mother-in-law in California, Delahoussaye was exposed to West Coast racing for the first time.
"I said then that if I ever got some breaks in this game, this would be the place where I would come," Delahoussaye said.
In 1979, Delahoussaye, his wife, Juanita, and their two children made that move. The year before, Delahoussaye had led the country in winners with 384.
In 1982 and 1983, with Gato Del Sol and Sunny's Halo, Delahoussaye won the Kentucky Derby, becoming only the fourth jockey to score back-to-back victories in the race.
In 1988, he won the last of the Triple Crown races, taking the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes with Risen Star. Delahoussaye won his first Breeders' Cup race with Princess Rooney in 1984, and five years later he won another on Prized, whom he will ride Saturday as he tries to win the Hollywood Gold Cup for the fourth time.
About five years ago, Delahoussaye estimated that he might quit riding when he turned 40.
"I never thought I'd ride this long," he said Sunday. "I'll ride through Del Mar this summer and then decide, but it's likely I'll continue for another year. I'm riding good now, and as long as I get decent horses and I can keep my health, I might as well stick around. I sure won't be riding when I'm 50, though. The (fighting to make) weight is going to get me, and year-round racing is tough."
Fowda, who paid $4 to win, was making only her fourth start. Her career had been delayed earlier this year, when two operations were required to free an entrapped epiglottis that impaired her breathing. She had never been farther than seven furlongs, and her only prep for the Oaks, after a four-month layoff, was a second-place finish going six furlongs June 9. In that race, she hopped in the air and hit her head on the gate.
"We were ahead by a little at the eighth pole," Delahoussaye said of the Oaks, "but then we lost the lead, and we were about a half-length back at the sixteenth pole. I started hitting her left-handed then, and she responded. I'm surprised she hung on that good going this far. She's a gutsy filly."
The victory was No. 4,616 for Delahoussaye in the 28,532nd race of his career. Delahoussaye was on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year, but only one jockey can be elected, and he was outvoted by Pat Day.
"I'm still a little young for that," Delahoussaye said. As soon as next year, he might not be.
Horse Racing Notes
Fowda, who is by Strawberry Road, the sire of Dinard, reminded trainer Dick Lundy of the Santa Anita Derby winner who was injured and unable to run in the Kentucky Derby. "She just reached down like Dinard always did and got more," Lundy said in describing Fowda's Hollywood Oaks victory. "I don't know where they get it from, but they just keep giving."
Four of the nine expected starters in Saturday's $1-million Hollywood Gold Cup had workouts Sunday. Prized went seven furlongs in 1:25 2/5; Roanoke went six in 1:12; Western Playboy worked five in 1:00 2/5; and Music Prospector's time for a mile was 1:38 4/5.