Jockey Eddie Martin Jr. won the 3,000th race of his career when he took outsider Castle Village Farm's Sweetiewheatie from last to first in the seventh race at Aqueduct Dec. 8.
"I feel just about the same as I did yesterday," the low-key Martin said following the victory. "I've been riding hard all week; I was just one away [from 3,000], and today I got it. I'm honored to be here in New York."
A 43-year-old native of Louisiana, Martin won his first race at Delta Downs aboard Morality in October of 1979. He has taken home leading rider honors at the Fair Grounds (2001-2002), Lone Star Park, Jefferson Downs, and Beulah Park during his 27-year career.
Martin's top mounts have included Catboat (G3 Arlington Breeders' Cup Oaks in 2004), Spanish Empire (G3 Fifth Season Stakes in 2004), Runway Model (G2 Golden Rod Stakes in 2004), Halory Leigh (G2 Falls City Handicap in 2004) and Real Cozzy (G2 Fair Grounds Oaks in 2001), and his biggest win thus far came aboard She Says It Best in the 2005 running of the Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland. He also rode a record-tying six winners at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 18, 2004.
"There's been a lot of people who have helped my career over the years," the jockey said. "I just want to thank everybody. Now I can concentrate on 4,000. I'm going to go out in the next race and try just as hard; I hope there is plenty more ahead. I'm healthy and riding good, and it's not even that cold today for me."
Currently represented by agent Chuck Delprado, Martin moved his tack to New York to ride daily at Aqueduct for the first time this winter, although he said he's flown in to ride stakes races in New York on several occasions. He has ridden at every major track in the nation except Del Mar and Santa Anita Park.
Leah Gyarmati trained Sweetiewheatie, a 4-year-old gelding bred in Florida by Brandon Perry. The gelding was outrun early, advanced inside on the second turn, angled out in upper stretch, responded to steady pressure, and got up in the final strides to clear his competitors by a head. He paid $26, $8.60, and $4.50 as the winner of the $40,000 claiming race, run at a mile and seventy yards over Aqueduct's inner track.