Four days after Mario Pino rode his 5,000th winner, fellow Maryland jockey Mark Johnston scored his 3,000th career win. Johnson reached the mark today aboard the James Barry owned and trained Komba in the second race at Pimlico
Horse and rider did it in the easiest kind of fashion, winning by 10 lengths in 1:47 2/5 for the 1 1/16th mile distance.
The 31-year-old rider from Lebanon, Ky., who has made the mid-Atlantic his base of operations since late 1989, a year before he won the Eclipse Award as leading apprentice, made every pole a winning one aboard the 2-1 favorite. Of his 3,000 career victories, 2,719 have occurred in Maryland.
Johnston was feted in the winners' circle after the victory. "I'm very happy I could achieve this win in Maryland. Maryland is home," Johnston said. "All my family and friends are here. It kind of chokes you up a little bit. There's a lot of history here at Pimlico. I love it here. Maryland is a great state and racing is going to bounce back and do really good here because Maryland is as good as it gets."
Johnston was awarded a leather jacket from the Maryland Jockey Club while surrounded by his mother, his wife, and his fellow riders.
A special video presentation was then presented on the infield Lumatron board and the in-house monitors celebrating the achievements of the 102nd rider to achieve 3,000 wins.
"It doesn't get any better than this," added Johnston. "It makes all those hard days worth it. I have to thank God. I don‚t normally pray to win races, just for safety, but today I asked to win this race in Maryland because it was really important for me and He didn't wait very long."