Delahoussaye rides off with No. 5,000 Jockey becomes 14th to win that many, eyes Hall of Fame

March 11, 1993|By Bob Mieszerski | Bob Mieszerski,Los Angeles Times

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Eddie Delahoussaye joined one exclusive club yesterday at Santa Anita and membership in another could be forthcoming.

When 2-1 favorite Ackler won the fifth race, Delahoussaye became the 14th rider to win 5,000 races, and the milestone might be enough to help him get elected to racing's Hall Of Fame.

Ballots were mailed out recently to 100 turf writers around the United States, and Delahoussaye is again on the list of jockeys. Results will be announced April 19.

"One of these days, they'll put me in there," he said. "I feel like I've achieved quite a lot in my career. My feeling is I'm just as good as any of the top riders."

After moving to within one victory of 5,000 on Sunday, Delahoussaye won with the second of his six mounts yesterday. He got a head start toward 6,000 with two more victories. The 41-year-old Louisiana native won the seventh with Stan's Natti and the ninth on Frequent Flyer.

Trained by Daniel Smithwick and owned by Jack Kent Cooke, Ackler, a 4-year-old Ack Ack gelding, was fifth after a half-mile in the turf sprint, got the lead in the stretch and went on to beat Patriotaki, a 14-1 shot, by a half-length.

Delahoussaye had ridden Ackler and Patriotaki in their last races, but he made the right choice yesterday.

"At least, I picked the right one," he said. "I told [agent] Terry [Lipham] to stick with this one because he has some speed and he's bred for the grass."

Weighing out after the victory, Delahoussaye was hit with cups of water by Chris McCarron and David Flores. "It tasted pretty good, too," he said. "I opened my mouth and caught some of it."

He was then joined in the winner's circle by Santa Anita president Cliff Goodrich, who presented him with a sign commemorating the occasion. Delahoussaye was joined by his wife, Juanita, his mother-in-law and her husband.

"It feels pretty good," he said. "Ten years ago, I was hoping to reach 3,000 [victories]. Then, I got to 4,000, and I didn't think it would continue. It seems like I get better as I get older.

"It's a great achievement for myself. I'm not looking for 6,000, but if it happens, it happens. Mentally, I feel better now than I did 10 years ago. I was in limbo then. I wasn't into the game as much as I am now.

"In the last five years, since I got together with Terry, we've done great together and we've worked hard. Things have worked out fine and he's done a great job."

The other riders to surpass 5,000 victories are Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay, Angel Cordero, Jorge Velasquez, Larry Snyder, John Longden, David Gall, Sandy Hawley, Carl Gambardella, McCarron, Pat Day, Earlie Fires and Jacinto Vasquez. Eight of the 13 -- Shoemaker, Pincay, Cordero, Velasquez, Longden, Hawley, McCarron and Day -- are in the Hall of Fame.

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