Jockey Frankie Pennington, a 19-year-old native of Big Springs, Texas, shattered the single-season mark for number of wins at Philadelphia Park Dec. 19.
Pennington broke the old record of 255 wins, formerly co-held by Robert Colton and Gwen Jocson in 1991, when he booted home E & G Stables' L M Blazer for leading trainer Jayne Vaders in the seventh race for win number 256.
Pennington was congratulated by a large group of owners, trainers, and valets, then was sprayed with a water hose by trainer Richard Vega.
"It's quite a thrill," Pennington said. "To accomplish something like this so early in my career is hard to imagine. Obviously, (it's) a lot of hard work, but I won't argue with the results."
Pennington's agent, former rider Bob Martel, said the young apprentice nearly left the Bensalem, Pa., track to ride at Charles Town Races & Slots 2 1/2 years ago.
"Trainer John McCaslin said to Frankie (Pennington), 'If you and Bob (Martel) work together, I'll put you on some winners," Martel said. "The next week, he rode three winners in one day, two of them for McCaslin. He decided to stay here."
In 2005, Pennington was honored as Philly Park's top apprentice, and while the loss of a "bug" often hurts the business of some riders, the wins kept coming his way. He finished last year with 154 victories.
Besides Vaders, Pennington is the regular rider for several other top outfits, including those of Ned Allard, Bob Seeger, Scott Lake and Ron Dandy.