Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey became Saratoga Race Course's all-time leading rider Friday afternoon when Mike G. Rutherford's homebred Taittinger Rose won the third race for Bailey's 641st career winners at the Spa.Bailey won the first race Friday aboard the Billy Turner-trained Seaside Salute ($6) to reach fellow Hall of Famer Angel Cordero Jr.'s previous record of 640 Saratoga winners. Bailey then rode his third winner of the day with favored Aspen Gal ($5) in the seventh for victory 642."I don't know exactly what it means at this point," Bailey said after breaking the record. "I'm sure that two, three or four years from now, it will sink in more. I do know one thing: Angel was probably the best rider I rode with, day in and day out. I can't see he's the best rider I rode with because I rode with Lafitt (Pincay Jr.) and (Bill) Shoemaker. It's quite a compliment to top what Angel did. As good as he was everywhere else, he was that much better and that much tougher here."Bailey got support from Hall of Fame trainers MacKenzie Miller, Bill Mott, D. Wayne Lukas and Bobby Frankel during his career. Appropriately enough, Taittinger Rose, who paid $6.30, is trained by Mott."You have to start with good horses, and I have been fortunate enough to ride for trainers that won a lot, Bill Mott being one of them," Bailey said. "I think it is probably fitting that I won on his horse because he has been responsible for a huge portion of my wins up here. "You have to come in here and be aggressive," Bailey said of why he's been so successful at The Spa. "It's a type of track that rewards aggressiveness. The New York fans are great in general, but they have an extra enthusiasm here at Saratoga I think you get more positive energy here."The 47-year-old Bailey moved to within one of Cordero's longstanding mark on Wednesday but was blanked Thursday."Angel has been great about this," Bailey said. "It is a honor to go by a guy like him."
The record was determined by joint research by Equibase and the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.Taittinger Rose drew off to a seven-length victory after stalking the pace into the stretch.Cordero won 13 Saratoga riding titles and competed when the meeting was 24 days long. The season is now 36 days long. Bailey has captured seven Saratoga championships.(Chart, Equibase)