09/22/2009 12:00AM

Jockey Winston Thompson wins 3,000th race


Jockey Winston Thompson won his 3,000th race Monday at Sufffolk Downs aboard African Angel in the eighth race.

A native of Jamaica, Thompson, 45, has been riding in New England since 1988 and has been the leading jockey at Suffolk four out of the last five seasons.

"To reach 3,000 means a lot, and it means a lot to do it at Suffolk Downs," said Thompson after African Angel returned $17.20. "All of the people here have helped me get here. I've been riding with them since 1987 and it is like one big family here."

Highlights in Thompson's career include a six-win day June 18, 2005 with a victory aboard eventual Breeders' Cup Mile winner Miesque's Approval in the $50,000 Old Ironsides Stakes. Thompson's biggest stakes win came in 2000 on King Roller in the $250,000 James B. Moseley Handicap.

Thompson becomes the fifth rider to pass 3,000 wins while being based in New England for most of their careers along with Carl Gambardella, Rudy Baez, Joe Hampshire, and Darrel Madden. Other 3,000-race winners who raced in the region for several seasons include Edgar Prado, Stewart Elliott, Harry Vega, Herb Hinojosa, and Vernon Bush.