Jockey Willie Martinez reached the 3,000-win milestone on the evening of Aug. 12 when he guided Squeaky Cecil to a one-length victory in the third race at Presque Isle Downs in Eire, Pa.
Martinez's accomplishment came aboard a 3-year-old Pennsylvania-bred filly racing in a $10,000 claiming event at 6 1/2 furlongs on Presque Isle's Tapeta main track. Jim Lawrence II saddled the winning daughter of Lyracist for owner/breeder Mouse Hill Farm.
Squeaky Cecil, sent off at odds of 15-1, bore out in the early going but rallied six wide at the top the stretch to win in an all-out effort.
Martinez, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico registered his first win at Tampa Bay Downs in 1989.
"I won my 2,000th win in the year 2000 and I was hoping and praying I could win my 3,000th win before the year 3000," he joked afterward.
The 40-year-old jockey has won riding titles at Ellis Park Racecourse, Tampa Bay Downs, Turfway Park, Keeneland Race Course and Hialeah Park. He owns nine titles at Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky, and also rode seven winners there on July 6, 1993.
Among the leading horses Martinez has ridden are Brass Hat, Noble's Promise , Silverbulletday, Ball Four, and Chilukki.
In addition to his 3,000 wins, Martinez has 2,751 runner-up finishes and 2,449 thirds from 21,823 races through Aug. 12. HIs mounts have totaled $69,369,023 in purse earnings.