FLORENCE, Ky., Dec. 27, 2012 – A last push on the neck of Heart of Class in Thursday's ninth race at Turfway Park gave jockey Rodney Prescott his 3,000th career win.
Owned by Bud Wells' Romar LLC and off at 4-1, the 2-year-old filly defeated six colts and geldings going a mile, coming from off the pace to just get up by a nose over Classic Caliber.
"It feels good," said Prescott. "Three thousand wins—I don't know what that means. Not many get to do it, so I'm thankful to have won that many. I've had a good career."
Fittingly, the win came for trainer Wayne Mogge, who has called on Prescott since the jockey was an apprentice.
"Wayne started riding me when I had the bug," Prescott continued. "I can tell you the first horse I won on for him: Local Pub. Wayne's been really good to me throughout the years wherever I'm at, whether it's here or Indiana, and I rode some for him at Churchill and Keeneland. So it is kind of special to win it for Wayne."
"We both started about the same time," said Mogge. "He has all the qualities that you look for in a person. He's honest, helpful, good family man—he tries to live by all the things I try to live by. He's a good man."
The milestone win continues an eventful December for Prescott, who earlier this month was one of five jockeys nominated for the 2013 George Woolf Memorial Award. Bestowed annually since 1950 and awarded only once to any one individual, the prestigious award recognizes the North American Thoroughbred jockey who exemplifies high standards in his or her personal and professional life. Nominations are made and votes cast by members of the Jockeys Guild. The results for the 2013 award will be announced in January.
The George Woolf Award nomination is not the first time Prescott has been recognized by his peers. As leading apprentice at River Downs in 1994, he was honored with the Rodney Dickens Award, presented by the River Downs jockey colony to the rider who shows outstanding sportsmanship and ability during his first season.
Prescott, 38, grew up around horses in his hometown of Portland, Ind., and as a youngster competed in barrel races, chariot races, and pole bending contests. After graduating from high school, he was introduced to racing when Quarter Horse rider Carter Rilie showed him around bush tracks in Illinois and helped him land his first job galloping horses.
Prescott first worked with Thoroughbreds at River Downs as a groom for the late Barbara Holbrook, for whom he rode his first mount. A month later, in June 1994, he rode his first winner, Blue Bravado, also for Holbrook at River Downs. Riding primarily in the Midwest, Prescott was the nation's second-leading rider by wins in 2005. He holds multiple riding titles from Hoosier Park, where he is the Indiana track's all-time leader, and also has leading rider titles from Indiana Downs and Turfway Park.
The 3,000th win ties Prescott with Darrel Madden for 161st place on the all-time wins list. One place ahead with 3,032 wins is Ron Turcotte, best known as the rider of Triple Crown winner Secretariat. In addition to his wins, Prescott has 2,995 seconds and 2,846 thirds and has earned purses totaling more than $35 million.
Prescott makes his home in Cincinnati with his wife, Beth Anne, and their children, Anna and Austin.
The other four nominees for the George Woolf Memorial Award are Javier Castellano, Perry Compton, David Flores, and Mario Pino.