Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. became the first jockey in the history of Thoroughbred racing to win 9,000 races Saturday at Oak Tree at Santa Anita, winning his third race of the day aboard Chichim in the Louis R. Rowan California Cup Distaff Handicap to reach the milestone. Chichim closed from ninth-place in the early going to win by a neck as the 2-1 favorite in the about 6 1/2-furlong race over the downhill turf course.
"It's a lot of fun when you set a milestone like this," said Pincay. "I don't have any pressure because I know I've been riding some nice horses, and I knew eventually it would happen. I was just enjoying the whole thing."
After reacing the milestone, Pincay added two more stakes win to become the third jockey in Santa Anita history to win four stakes races in one day and the first to win five. He won on Road To Slew in the Ralph M. Scurfield California Cup Mile for win number 9,001 and aboard Sky Jack in the Wells Fargo Bank California Cup Classic to cap his day.
"It was a great day, but I'm a little surprised," said Pincay. "I knew I was going to ride some nice horses today but I didn't think I'd win five races. Today is very special. To hit 9,000 winners and ride five stakes winners, it's kind of nice."
Pincay's other winning mounts on the day came in the second race, the Merial California Cup Starter Handicap, aboard Shivareen Sky and the Kenneth M. Schiffer Cal Cup Starter Sprint Handicap on Heightenedawareness.
For win number 9,000, Pincay waited patiently before making his move on the turn.
"I was behind horses but I didn't want to swing her wide because I knew I would have lost too much ground," the jockey said. "I was waiting and waiting and waiting, and I finally saw a little hole in front of me and I knew I had to take the chance when I had it. She went on, and I got through, and when we crossed the dirt I said to myself, 'Boy, I think we've got a good chance to win.' And sure enough, she did."
Dusty Heather was second, and Cover Gal third.
"My wife (Jeanine) asked me this morning if she should come to the track today and I said, 'Yeah, you better come because I don't know if I'm going to do it, but I have some good mounts and you never know what can happen in horse racing,'" Pincay said. "So I told her she better be there."
Pincay, 53, became the leading rider in Thoroughbred racing history Dec. 10 when he rode his 8,834th winner, breaking Bill Shoemaker's long-standing record.