If winning continues to come as easily as victory No. 8,000 did, Laffit Pincay is a lock to match Bill Shoemaker’s 8,833-victory career total.
Pincay was sitting down Monday--in a chair, not on a saddle--when he learned he had won No. 8,000. He was in the jockey room when Dan Smith, Del Mar’s director of marketing and media, broke the news to him shortly after noon.
The Daily Racing Form, thoroughbred racing’s statistical bible, had overlooked three races--including one victory-- Pincay had ridden in Mexico City in 1991.
Thus, Pincay’s 3 1/2-length victory aboard El Toreo in Sunday’s seventh race became his 8,000th victory. He already holds the career earnings record at more than $170 million.
“I’m kind of disappointed about this,” Pincay said. “I don’t know who’s in charge of this kind of thing, but couldn’t this have been discovered a week or two ago? Now I wished I would have done it last night and had the thrill before all this happened.”
A screaming crowd of 19,051 waited around until dusk for the ninth race Sunday, when Pincay came within a head of what he thought would be his 8,000th victory.
Pincay was honored during a ceremony after the fifth race before a smaller Monday crowd.
“I brought my family especially for this,” he said. “My daughter and my mother. They came from Los Angeles. And my mother-in-law. I called home and told my wife. She was surprised.”
It detracted from the drama, but not the magnitude of the accomplishment.
“I’m very proud to have reached this,” he said. “I’m only the second one, and it’s an honor.”
Shoemaker was there in the winner’s circle for the ceremony. His record is the only one left for Pincay to break.
“I’m sure he will one day,” said Shoemaker, a trainer now. “When he does, I hope it’s on one of my horses and I hope I can be there to congratulate him.”
Horse Racing Notes
Laffit Pincay was honored after a fifth race that produced a bit of history by itself. The winner, Buoyant Belle, paid $82.60, $27.00 and $10.60 and led an $11,336.80 trifecta payoff, almost double the previous Del Mar record of $6,504.20 set a year ago. Soap Opera Queen paid $21.40 and $8.60 and Katzakeena paid $8.20.
Twelve 3-year-olds have been invited to Monday’s Del Mar Derby: Art Of Living, Blues Traveller, Codified, Dare To Duel, Devoted Brass, Fatherland, Future Storm, Golden Slewpy, Guide, Hawk Spell, Manny’s Prospect and Zignew.
Jockeys Kent Desormeaux and Corey Nakatani were fined $200 Monday for standing up too early on mounts Saturday, although neither influenced the order of finish.