The milestone was anticipated but it came at a totally unexpected time when jockey Jose Caraballo registered his 2,000th career victory in Wednesday's third race at Laurel Park atop longshot Yankee Gal.Caraballo let first time starter Yankee Gal drop back to sixth in the 5-1/2 furlong test for 2-year-old $25,000 maiden claiming fillies. Languishing almost eight lengths off the lead entering the far turn, Caraballo urged the daughter of Yankee Victor to pick up the pace and she came alive, driving down the lane to catch everyone in front of her, including Left On Sycamore two jumps from the finish line. The Matt Hartman trainee paid $51.40.Caraballo entered the day with 1,999 victories and had four mounts, including a pair for his wife, trainer Aimee Hall. He rode his 1,000th career winner for Hall at Rockingham Park.
"I was hoping to win 2,000 for my wife," said Caraballo, who rode six winners at Laurel last week including three on the De Francis Dash (gr. I) undercard. "I am happy and would like to thank all the trainers for supporting me. Hopefully I can make it to 3,000." The 39-year-old started riding at El Commandante racetrack in his native Puerto Rico in 1984 then moved to the United States where he was the top apprentice at Thistledown. Caraballo has also ridden at Philadelphia Park, in New England, South Florida and the Mid-Atlantic. He has been a fulltime rider at Delaware Park since 2000 and has been wintering in Maryland since 2001.