Jockey Victor Espinoza earned the 3,000th victory of his career when favored Flashy Delight easily won the fourth race Friday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The milestone in the $8,000 claimer for older fillies and mares came nearly 21 years after the 41-year-old native of Mexico City earned his first victory at Hipodromo De Las Americas in his hometown.
A winner of four local riding titles, Espinoza is 12th on the all-time list at Hollywood Park with 928 victories. He ranks eighth with 118 stakes wins.
Dropping in class for Rockingham Ranch and trainer Peter Miller after being claimed for $20,000 April 25, Flashy Delight took over the lead approaching the stretch while on the outside and cruised home by eight lengths in the race at seven furlongs over Cushion Track.
The win was the fourth for the 4-year-old Vindication filly – all in tandem with Espinoza.
“It was kind of an exciting feeling coming down the stretch, like, ‘Now I did it, 3,000 finally,''' said Espinoza. “I don't have to wait another day. You never know, some days you come and feel you have a good chance to win and the horses don't run.
“But, the last sixteenth of a mile I thought, “Now, it's done,' so I can have fun right now.
“It's funny (that he had ridden only a couple of horses for Miller in recent months). We kind of separated for awhile. It's like a relationship. Break up for a little while and come back again.
“(Miller) told me (Thursday) that if I didn't win my 3,000th today, you will win with (Flashy Delight Friday).''
Espinoza was the second jockey to collect his 3,000th win at the Spring/Summer meet. Rafael Bejarano reached the milestone May 11 aboard the Bob Baffert-trained Ondine.
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