Jockey Rene Douglas won the 3,000th race of his career Thursday when he guided Grey Misty to victory at Santa Anita Park for trainer Bill Spawr.
Douglas is the 122nd rider in North America to reach the milestone. The 37-year-old native of Panama returned to California last fall after riding most of the last decade in Illinois, where he won four straight titles at Arlington Park near Chicago.
In his win aboard Grey Misty ($12) in the day's fifth race, Douglas steered the gray gelding through an opening along the inside, and they gradually pulled clear for a two-length victory over Presumption in the $20,000 claimer at 6 ½ furlongs.
"It's great, it's exciting and hard to describe," Douglas said immediately after the victory. "I feel good. I want to thank God for giving me the energy to continue to do well. I want to thank the fans who come to the races and watch, the trainers and owners who give me the opportunity and believe in me. I'm very proud to reach this mark."
Douglas ranks second in the Santa Anita jockeys' standings with 13 wins through 14 days of the 85-day meeting. Tyler Baze leads with 15.
Douglas rode in Southern California in the mid-1990s and had his best Santa Anita season in 1995-96 when he finished fifth with 59 wins. His biggest victory was on Editor's Note in the 1996 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Douglas had his best year in 2004 when he rode 242 winners and his mounts earned over $8.4 million. He returned to California with a bang, finishing in a third-place tie at Oak Tree with 18 victories before capturing the Hollywood Park Autumn title with 37 wins.
He said that it was nice to reach 3,000 on a horse trained by Spawr, who has used Douglas' services regularly, and who was also instrumental when Laffit Pincay Jr. broke Bill Shoemaker's world record mark of 8,833 wins in 1999.
"I'm happy to win for Bill Spawr," Douglas said. "He did a lot for my friend and countryman Laffit Pincay, and I appreciate that because Laffit's always been good to me."