Suffolk Downs' leading rider, Jamaican native Winston Thompson, reached another career milestone Tuesday. In garnering a wire-to-wire victory aboard 1-2 favorite Sundance Shamrock in the third race for owner/trainer Tim Kirby, Thompson reached the 2,500 victory mark in his 19-year career.
Before the races, Thompson reflected on his imminent achievement. "What 2,500 victories means to me is all the hard work that's gone into things so far and my luck as far as health and good owners and trainers. But, I prefer to look ahead rather than behind, so I'll just try to get to 3,000 wins if I can."
Thompson lived up to his words about not looking back. When he brought Sundance Shamrock back to the winner's circle, he immediately jumped off the 3-year-old filly and headed to the clerk of scales to weigh in and make the race official.
Meanwhile, his fellow riders were converging to get in a picture with Thompson, while Suffolk had a special sign also ready for the photo. The embarrassed Thompson, who has come to love New England, had to be coaxed back and reminded of the significance of the moment.
"I forgot all about it (2,500 wins)," laughed Thompson with a sheepish grin. "I was ready to weigh in and go back to the jockeys' room. But it feels really great."
Thompson was the leading apprentice in Jamaica in 1984 and came to the United States in 1986, riding in New Jersey, Florida, and West Virginia before coming to New England for the first time in 1988.