05/05/2013 7:49AM

Jockey T.D. Houghton collects 5,000th victory at Thistledown

Jeff Zamaiko Photography
Jockey T.D. Houghton is honored in the winner's circle at Thistledown after winning his 5,000th career race.

Jockey T.D. Houghton will always remember the day Orb won the Kentucky Derby. Some five hours before Orb rallied in the mud to win the 139th Derby at Churchill Downs, Houghton collected his 5,000th career victory at Thistledown.

Houghton reached the milestone when he rode the 7-year-old gelding Mambo Galliano ($3.20) to a 6 ½-length victory in a $4,000 claiming race with his first mount on Thistledown’s card in race 2. He added victory number 5,001 with Storm Love ($6.40) in the first race on Saturday night’s program at Mountaineer Racetrack.

In joining Calvin Borel as jockeys to hit 5,000 this season, Houghton, 43, ranks 27th on the all-time list.  Just ahead of him is Borel at 5,012.

Houghton earned his 4,999th lifetime victory on Wednesday at Thistledown, and then went 0 for 5 Friday night at Mountaineer.

Houghton was a long-time dominant rider in Michigan, first at Detroit Race Course and later Great Lakes Downs and Pinnacle. When all of Michigan’s tracks closed, he rode at Tampa Bay Downs and Hawthorne.

Twice, Houghton’s long career was in jeopardy. Houghton sustained a brain injury during a spill at Great Lakes Downs in 2002. It took a year of therapy before he was able to resume riding.

In 2006, Houghton was among seven riders banned at Tampa following allegations of race fixing. Houghton has maintained his innocence and although never charged or indicted, he remains barred at Tampa and ineligible to obtain a license in Kentucky. He has ridden regularly at Mountaineer since 2009.