02/11/2012 2:18PM

Gulfstream: Pletcher gets 3,000th victory

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Barbara D. Livingston
Todd Pletcher is congratulated by Angel Cordero Jr. after winning his 3,000th career race.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Todd Pletcher became the 26th trainer in Thoroughbred racing history to win 3,000 races, achieving the milestone with Spring Hill Farm’s victory in Saturday’s third race at Gulfstream Park.

Pletcher, 44, is the son of veteran trainer Jake “J.J.” Pletcher, who currently operates a training center near Ocala, Fla. A 1989 graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree in animal science, Pletcher served seven years as an assistant to D. Wayne Lukas before going out on his own in December of 1995. He registered his first career victory the following month, on Jan. 26, 1996, at Gulfstream with Majestic Number.

Pletcher won his 3,001st race just 30 minutes later with a 3-year-old also named Majestic Number in Saturday’s fourth race at Gulfstream. He won his seventh Hutcheson Stakes later on the Gulfstream card to conclude the day with 3,002 career victories.

:: TODD PLETCHER: Career highlights, videos

Pletcher has won five Eclipse Awards as outstanding trainer since 2004. He has saddled six Breeders’ Cup winners, including three in 2010 at Churchill Downs, where he finally won his first Kentucky Derby with Super Saver earlier in the year. Pletcher has been leading trainer at Saratoga eight times, setting a record with 38 victories last summer. He is also well on his way to picking up his ninth consecutive Gulfstream title.

Pletcher has trained nine Eclipse Award winners, the most recent Uncle Mo in 2010. His other champions included Rags to Riches, Lawyer Ron, English Channel, Wait A While, Fleet Indian, Speightstown, Ashado, and Left Bank. He also currently has a barn full of leading Kentucky Derby candidates for this year topped by Algorithms, El Padrino, Gemologist, and Discreet Dancer.

“Accomplishing something like this gives you an opportunity to reflect a little bit, and there aren’t many opportunities to reflect in this business,” said Pletcher moments after his 3,000th win. “This is one of them. It’s been a great run, and I am very fortunate to have had a lot of great owners, a lot of great horses, tremendous help, and a tremendous staff. It’s been a lot of fun.”