Laffit Pincay replaced Bill Shoemaker atop another list Wednesday--this one at Hollywood Park--as he continues his march through horse racing's record books.
Pincay, who turned 45 last December, rode So Ever Clever to a 2 3/4-length victory in the first race of the day, a $50,000 maiden claimer, for win No. 2,417 in 24 seasons at the Inglewood track. He had two other victories in the third and seventh races.
Shoemaker, who rode for the last time at Hollywood Park on July 21, 1989, won 2,416 races at the track, beginning in 1949.
"That's probably not the last of my records he'll get," Shoemaker said from his home in San Marino. "I imagine he'll get the big one before he's through."
Shoemaker was referring to his all-time winning total of 8,833, considered one of the sport's untouchable numbers. Pincay, currently at 7,790, would need to average slightly more than 200 wins per year until he turns 50.
"I'd like to win 8,000 races," Pincay said. "That's my goal right now. And after that, let's see what happens."
Pincay already had supplanted Shoemaker atop the all-time winning list at Santa Anita earlier this year. He is destined to break the Del Mar record as well, although he won't get it this summer. Pincay trails Shoemaker at the seaside track, 889-761.
In the meantime, Pincay will continue to play Henry Aaron to Shoemaker's Babe Ruth.
"He deserves a lot more credit than I did," said Shoemaker, who first rode against Pincay at Arlington Park in August of 1966.
"Look at the sacrifices he's had to make to keep his weight down all these years," Shoemaker went on. "I never had to do that. And he's only 45. I'd be surprised if he doesn't keep right on doing it until he breaks all the records."
John Sadler will be in New York on Saturday to run Southern Justice, his latest sprint star, in the $100,000 True North Handicap at Belmont Park.
Southern Justice, a 4-year-old gelding, combines the heart of a tiger with feet of clay. Chronic hoof trouble has kept him in the barn throughout much of his career.
Owner Gary Biszantz paid $50,000 for Southern Justice in the spring of 1990 and has gotten only five starts for his investment.
But Southern Justice, a son of Majesterial, has won four times--two for his previous trainer Mel Stute and two for Sadler, who took over last fall. Most recently, Southern Justice scorched the Golden Gate main track May 25 to beat Santa Anita track record-holder Gray Slewpy by a length in the six-furlong Oakland Handicap in a time of 1:08.
"There's no question he has his problems," Sadler said. "But when he's right, on any given day, he can be a very dangerous horse."
Sadler said the True North should serve as a steppingstone to the $300,000 Frank de Francis Stakes at Pimlico on July 18.
Southern Justice is the most recent in a long line of stakes class sprinters to emerge from the Sadler stable, among them Olympic Prospect, Valiant Pete, Frost Free, Don's Irish Melody and Three Peat.
Sadler used to recoil at the typecasting of "King of the California Sprinters," but now accepts his reputation with good humor.
"If I'm going to be the 'sprint king,' then I ought to be winning a race like the De Francis," Sadler said. "Beyond that, we're very much looking at the Breeders' Cup Sprint with Southern Justice."
Once the True North is in the books, Sadler will turn his attention to Three Peat, who swept into New York from California to take the Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct last March. The 3-year-old could be running next in the 1 1/8-mile Dwyer Stakes at Belmont on July 5.
"He worked a half-mile on Monday at Belmont and went too fast," said Sadler, only was pretending to be displeased. "I'll work him long there Sunday and see how he relaxes and how he finishes, then decide on the Dwyer. But I really see no reason why he can't get a mile and one-eighth.
Three Peat finished second in the seven-furlong Riva Ridge Stakes on June 6--the day of the Belmont Stakes.
"I'm convinced he hated the wet track that day and finished second on class alone," Sadler said.
Sadler was paying special attention to the results of Tuesday's feature race at Belmont Park, a 1 1/16-mile allowance that drew the unbeaten Furiously, owned by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Nicholas Brady.
"He's the hot horse back there right now," Sadler said. "I hear he'll go in the Dwyer next."
Furiously won by 9 1/2 lengths, beating what one New Yorker described as a "field of barely registered thoroughbreds." Among them were Jacksonsport, who was eased in the Belmont Stakes, and Tri To Watch, who has yet to regain his stakes-class form of last year.
Sadler was unfazed by Furiously's race, but he does have a backup plan.
"If I don't like the way Three Peat works on Sunday," Sadler said, "I can run him back there in a $100,000 race at Atlantic City the week before the Dwyer."
Of course he can. It's a sprint, and those are easy.
Horse Racing Notes
Ian Jory is passing Sunday's local Cinema Handicap to run Vying Victor, the Remington Derby winner, in either the $300,000 Ohio Derby Saturday at Thistledown, near Cleveland, or the $300,000 Arlington Classic on Sunday at Arlington International, near Chicago. "I can enter both and then decide which is the better spot," said the English-born Jory before leaving his Hollywood headquarters. "But if we go in the Ohio race, I can catch an Indians' game while I'm there. I've become a real baseball fan." He might want to check the standings first. . . . Leading rider Kent Desormeaux took off his mounts at Hollywood Wednesday after injuring his thumb Tuesday night in a charity baseball game in Temple City.