Jockey Leslie Mawing rode the 2,000th winner of his career on the Aug. 9 evening card at Emerald Downs in Washington state.
Mawing, a 38-year-old native of Johannesburg, South Africa, achieved the milestone when he rallied 5-1 shot Grand Baylee from far back to beat odds-on favorite Tullamore Dew in the fifth race.
"I didn't think we were going to get there, but we got up in the shadow of the wire," Mawing said of the Lion Heart filly. The official winning margin was a neck, as Grand Baylee rolled from nine lengths back to tag the 2-to-5 favorite Tullamore Dew in the final strides.
"I want to thank all the trainers, owners, family, friends, and fans," said Mawing, who was accompanied in the winner's circle by his wife, Catherine, and three children. "I've had a lot of support over the years."
Mawing pointed out that exactly $2,000 was wagered on Grand Baylee to win and said it was an omen from his father, who had encouraged him to become a jockey. He began the night needing two wins for the milestone and got the first one aboard 11-to-10 favorite Cresent McGain in the third race.
Mawing, whose 18-year riding career began at Les Bois Park in Boise, Idaho, in 1994, won his first Emerald Downs riding title last year with 129 wins. He has 464 victories at Emerald Downs, and the 2,000 wins make him the track's leading active rider. Gallyn Mitchell, winner of 2,612 races lifetime, is likely sidelined for the season with a broken hand.