08/01/2016 9:56AM

Lanerie hits 4,000-win milestone

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Jockey Corey Lanerie

Corey Lanerie became the 70th jockey in North American racing history to hit the 4,000-win mark when guiding Crooked Stick to victory for trainer Alex Clarkson in the seventh race Sunday at Ellis Park in western Kentucky.

Lanerie, 41, had won the previous race aboard Taliaferro County.

“It’s special,” said Lanerie, whose greatest career feats include 11 riding titles at Churchill Downs in his adopted hometown of Louisville, Ky. “I didn’t know how long the career was going to last. Now to hit 4,000, it’s a milestone I never dreamed of years ago. But I’ve been blessed, and things have been going well, and I hope to keep on trucking.”

Lanerie, who grew up in Lafayette, La., as a third-generation horseman, also has been the leading jockey at Ellis, Lone Star Park, and several other tracks. He ranks 46th all time in mount earnings with more than $105.6 million.

The all-time wins leader on the continent is Russell Baze, who retired in June with 12,842.

Lanerie won two races Friday at Ellis to up his total to 3,998, thereby passing Mike Rowland, who had 3,997 wins when he died at age 41 from injuries suffered in a February 2004 spill at Turfway Park.

Lanerie enters this week tied at 4,000 with Hugo Dittfach, the Canadian Hall of Famer who retired in 1989. Just ahead with 4,001 is Steve Bourque, who achieved the 4,000-win milestone last week at Evangeline Downs.