FOR Edgar Prado, 1997 has been a year to remember. As Maryland's premier thoroughbred jockey, he has guided his horses to victories at Laurel and Pimlico at a record-setting pace: More than 500 wins so far this year and over 3,000 in his career. Those are considerable achievements in any professional sport.
Only two other jockeys have won more races in a year than Mr. Prado, and both of them did it primarily at Maryland tracks -- Chris McCarron in 1974, and Kent Desormeaux in 1989. Sixty-six other jockeys in North America have crossed the 3,000-win barrier before Mr. Prado. But his career is far from over. At age 30, the native of Peru should have at least another decade ahead of him on the tracks. Thoroughbred-racing records could continue to fall as he draws the best mounts and displays the best skills of any jockey on the mid-Atlantic circuit.