LAUREL -- Edgar Prado booted in five winners yesterday, boosting his Laurel Race Course total to 30 in 18 days.
Prado, a 23-year-old Peruvian, has had nine winners in the past two days and is 12 ahead of Mike Luzzi, who is second in the Laurel standings.
Prado has soared past Mark Johnston, who had a streak as an apprentice in the first half of the year. After Johnston's apprentice allowance expired, Prado took over. He was the leading rider at the recent Pimlico Race Course meeting and has led here since the first day.
Prado began yesterday by dropping in at trainer Vinnie Blengs' barn soon after daybreak. Blengs and Prado have an understanding. The trainer has many good horses, and Prado is a talented rider. They hooked up for one winner yesterday, Nice Gal in the fourth race.
After working horses for Blengs, then checking in with a few other trainers, Prado went to the jockeys' room for a nap and a session in the sweatbox.
When racing began, Prado's first four mounts won. He had four other mounts, each of which figured to be backed down near favoritism. If he won with all four, he could break the record for winners in one day at a Maryland track.
Chuck Baltazar once rode seven here, and Paul Nicol Jr. had a similar number at Pimlico.
But in the sixth race, Prado's mount, Miracle at Work, struggled in sixth, and, in the seventh, he was only second with Go Out Steppin'.
He was not scheduled to ride in the eighth, but in the ninth, Prado came out on Diamond Coast, third choice in a field of six.
Niall O'Callaghan trains Diamond Coast for Frank Stronach. O'Callaghan likes to try horses on the turf, but the ninth race -- the feature -- was at seven furlongs on the main track.
Skating Lady set the pace. Then, Diamond Coast came along under Prado and won by three-fourths of a length from Sweet Bunny, the favorite.
O'Callaghan, asked how it had happened, shook his head and grinned. "I just put the right rider on her," he said. "Prado is the one. He makes horses win."
"Thank you," the jockey said to O'Callaghan.
Prado had one more mount, a gelding, Toll, in the 10th, so he hurried to the jockeys' room to change into the silks of owner James Reichenberg Jr.
Horseplayers at Laurel and the Pimlico intertrack facility, cognizant of the rider's streak, sent Toll off as 3-2 favorite.
Toll broke slowly, then dropped back. He wound up seventh, as Normandie Cross romped in first under Donnie Miller.
Prado rides 10 on a 12-race card today.
* The stewards suspended Johnston seven days for his ride on Sith Najibe in the second race Tuesday.