05/13/2011 12:12PM

Lone Star: Quinonez wins 3,000th race


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Jockey Luis Quinonez won the 3,000th Thoroughbred race of his career Thursday night at Lone Star Park, when he guided Hit It Hard home by 8 3/4 lengths in the seventh race.

“It is a lot of wins,” Quinonez said of the milestone. “I’ve been blessed to win that many.”

Quinonez guided Hit It Hard ($5.60) to the front soon after the start of the $25,000 maiden claiming race. He was aboard for trainer Ralph Irwin, a longtime patron for whom Quinonez has ridden stakes winners Tortuga Flats and Tortuga Straits.

Quinonez, 44, scored his first career win May 10, 1989, at Canterbury Park. He would win five consecutive titles at the track between 1995 and 1999. Quinonez has also won titles at Oaklawn Park and Remington Park. He is the older brother of jockeys Alonso Quinonez, who is based at Hollywood Park, and Belen Quinonez, who is riding at Will Rogers Downs.

Luis Quinonez said in a post-race interview with Lone Star paddock host Dave Appleton that there are “so many good memories” from his career to date that he would be hard-pressed to come up with one special moment. But he did say his favorite mount was Brownie Points, a Grade 3 winner of $951,230 who retired in 2008. Quinonez has also won stakes with millionaires Maysville Slew and Going Ballistic.

Overall he has had 21,075 Thoroughbred mounts, and they have earned a collective $47 million.