Hampshire was the last of a band of New Englanders who came to Maryland this winter after Suffolk Downs closed for the season. Riders Dyn Panell, Peter Sosa Jr and trainers John Rigattieri and Ron Dandy have all enjoyed success this winter competing in the Free State for the first time. "This is a big accomplishment," said Hampshire, who is the 115th rider in history to reach the 3,000 win mark. "I never thought I'd even ride 1,000 winners. I want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way, especially Ron Dandy. I feel like I'm walking on air right now."
Jockey Joe Hampshire reached the 3,000 win mark Friday by booting home two longshots in the final two races of the Laurel Park card.After shocking the Friday afternoon crowd with 36-1 shot Tommy Wells in the eighth race, a $25,000 allowance test at 5-1/2 furlongs, the transplant from New England circled the field atop 11-1 Bluebird's Song in the 1-1/16th maiden claiming finale to win by a half-length. That gave him the career milestone. "It feels great and is a big surprise because those two were longshots," said Hampshire, who came to Maryland needing five wins to reach 3,000. "Things just went right in both races and I'm ecstatic. It is an honor to reach this milestone at Laurel. This place has great tradition and everybody has been so warm to me since I arrived."