Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jockey Elliott reaches 4,000th win milestone

Photo: Mid-Atlantic-based jockey Stewart Elliott earned his 4,000th North American victory on Sunday at Philadelphia Park.
Shigeki Kikkawa photo

Jockey Stewart Elliott earned his 4,000th North American victory on Sunday when Jake’s Bandaid won the seventh race at Philadelphia Park.

Elliott, 43, began riding in 1981 at Keystone Race Track, which was later renamed Philadelphia Park.

Elliott rode 2004 champion three-year-old male and dual classic winner Smarty Jones in all nine of the horse’s career starts, including victories in the ’04 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1). Smarty Jones’s Triple Crown bid ended with a runner-up finish to Birdstone in the 2004 Belmont Stakes (G1).

A Toronto native who lives in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, Elliott’s 25,681 mounts have compiled $69,226,437 in purse earnings through Saturday. Elliott’s mounts have also posted 3,392 runner-up and 3,195 third-place finishes.

Elliott has posted 175 of his wins in stakes races, including 23 graded stakes victories. The rider earned his most lucrative wins in 2004 when he guided Smarty Jones to victory in three consecutive races worth $1-million apiece—the Arkansas Derby (G2) and the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Smarty Jones began his three-year-old campaign by winning the Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct. The chestnut horse then won three consecutive races—the Southwest and Rebel Stakes and the Arkansas Derby—at Oaklawn Park prior to running in the Kentucky Derby.

Oaklawn President Charles Cella presented Roy and Pat Chapman, whose Someday Farm owned and bred Smarty Jones, with a $5-million bonus for sweeping the Rebel Stakes, Arkansas Derby, and Kentucky Derby.

Elliott earned his 3,000th North American win on May 13, 2003. His father, Dennis, was a jockey for six years in Hong Kong before becoming a trainer.