Trainer Steve Hobby earned the 1,000th win of his career March 1 when Ruthless Empire easily won seventh race at Oaklawn Park, a maiden claiming event, as the 4-5 favorite under jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr (VIDEO).
"It feels great," said Hobby, a 56-year-old native of La Harpe, Ill. "I'm so happy to do this at my home track. We've been really lucky. I can't say that one horse stands out (among the 1,000 wins). Chindi brought us a lot of excitement. We're ready for win 1,001 now."
Cresran's Chindi was one of many stakes winners for Hobby and his longtime client at Oaklawn, taking the 1998 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (gr. III). The multiple graded stakes winner won 18 times during an 81-race career and earned more than $1 million.
Hobby's best runners recently have been 2012 Smarty Jones winner Junebugred and 2012 Azeri Stakes (gr. III) winner Tiz Miz Sue, who is being pointed toward a defense of the that title after finishing third in the Feb. 16 Bayakoa Stakes. Telling, owned by other longtime owners Alex and Joanne Lieblong, provided Hobby with his two career grade I victories when he won the Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga Race Course in 2009 and 2010.
Hobby grew up in Colorado where his father, Gerald, was a trainer at the now defunct Centennial Race Track just outside Denver. A jockey in his youth, Hobby turned to training in 1976. Hobby's wife, Metzie, is his assistant and daughter, Karie, is a manager in Oaklawn's food and beverage department.