Richard Migliore won his 4,000th career race at Aqueduct on Friday, then dedicated the victory to Mike Rowland, a Midwestern-based jockey who was killed in an on-track accident last year with 3,998 lifetime wins.
Migliore also took the moment to thank those who have helped him along through more than a quarter century in the saddle.
His first dedication, though, was to Rowland.
"I'd like to give this win to him and his family in my mind," the 40-year old Migliore said. "I recognize how close he came to a fantastic milestone. Not only did he not get the milestone, but his family lost a really good man."
Rowland was injured in a spill at Turfway Park exactly one year ago, and died five days later without ever regaining consciousness.
Migliore's 4,000th winner was among his easier rides, compliments of the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Benjamin Baby in the seventh race. Migliore earlier won his 3,999th race on Hurricane Erica, and Benjamin Baby was his third crack at the landmark victory.
"It was niggling at me a little bit," he said. "Obviously, you ride winners every day and it's inevitable that it's going to happen, but when you put a number on it, it becomes something you want badly. I wanted it badly.
"I'm real proud of the achievement because I started my career here (New York) so all my statistics are in the major leagues. Nothing's padded."
Migliore celebrated his 4,000th victory by throwing up four fingers on his right hand and waving towards the grandstand where his wife and four children looked on. He was greeted in the winners' circle by a large contingent of family, friends, jocks' room employees, and fellow riders. Jockey Aaron Gryder and Migliore's friend, Tommy Carrera, lifted him onto their shoulders for the winners' circle picture.
Tommy Carrera is the son of former New York City detective, Vinny Carrera, an old friend of Migliore's who passed away earlier this year.
"(He) kept telling me 'I'm gonna be there for 4,000, I'm gonna be there for 4,000.'" Looking up at the sky, he added, "I think Vinnie is here today."
Migliore called 5,000 winners a realistic goal.