02/15/2016 1:59PM

Jockey Ferrer gets win No. 4,000

Tom Keyser
Jockey Jose Ferrer has won 4,000 races in his career.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – It was a day of nice, round numbers for trainer Robert Smith and jockey Jose Ferrer on Sunday at Tampa Bay Downs, where the pair teamed up to win the fifth race with Rocket Bottle, who scored by one length in a $16,000 maiden-claiming sprint. The victory came on Smith’s 50th birthday and marked the 4,000th victory for Ferrer.

Ferrer scored two consecutive victories Sunday, having also taken the fourth race, a $20,000 claiming route, aboard Dance N Denae for trainer Dennis Ward.

“I was pretty confident when he won on Dennis’s horse the race before that we could get him his 4,000th win,” Smith said. “I thought the filly ran a great race, and he rode a great race. It was a nice day all around. It couldn’t have been any better. The first time I rode him I think was in 1994, and he’s just been a solid rider who’s really good on young horses and speed horses, which I tend to have a lot of.”

Ferrer, a 51-year-old native of Santurce, Puerto Rico, is now tied for 67th place in career wins in Thoroughbred racing history, with his total including six victories at Camarero in Puerto Rico. Ferrer is tied for sixth at the Tampa meet with 18 wins, with Antonio Gallardo the runaway leader with 73.

Ferrer has won 26 graded stakes, including the Grade 1 Spinaway in 2000 with Stormy Pick. He led the riders’ standings at the short, turf-only Meadowlands meet in October with nine victories and ranked sixth at Monmouth Park last year with 41 wins.

Prior to Sunday, Ferrer had been in a dry spell, having gone winless since Jan. 27.

“It is just a great, unbelievable feeling,” Ferrer said of reaching the milestone. “Every day that I get up in the morning and get on these horses and have the opportunity to compete, I’m blessed.”