Eibar Coa collected the 3,000th win of his career on Saturday when Bernie White Shoes easily won the third race at Belmont Park, Coa's second win on the card.
Coa did not have a mount in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and chose to stay in New York.
"Even though I'm not there, I'm very happy to stay here (and reach this milestone)," Coa said after dodging a cake in the face from his valet in the winners' circle. "You work all your life to try to achieve every thousand, and 3,000 is something that I was working for."
Coa arrived in the United States from Venezuela in 1993 and has been a force on the East Coast ever since. He has made several forays to New York, the first in 1998 when he returned to Florida in mid-summer saying he was homesick.
Now Coa, who won the winter and spring riding titles at Aqueduct, has bought a house in nearby Franklin Square and says New York is his base for good. Asked about the most special of his 3,000 wins, Coa pointed to last year's Pimlico Special (gr. I) triumph on Eddington.
"I will continue to work for 4,000 now. I believe my career is just starting."
Allen Jerkens trains Bernie White Shoes, a 3-year-old Hennessy
colt who won a $45,000 allowance race by 4 3/4 lengths.
Coa also won the second race aboard the 5-year-old mare Moorebella