01/01/2015 9:07PM

Longshot in Blue Norther gives Solis 5,000th career victory

Benoit & Associates
Lutine Bell pays $41.80 after winning the Blue Norther for jockey Alex Solis.

ARCADIA, Calif. - On the turn of Thursday’s $79,250 Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita, jockey Alex Solis steered the longshot Lutine Belle off the rail and into contention for the stretch run of the one-mile turf race.

With a furlong to go, Lutine Belle was third, and closing well. At that moment, Solis realized what could occur. He was on the verge of the 5,000th win of his career in North America.

“It went through my mind – I’ll win my 5,000th,” he said.

Lutine Belle ($41.80) closed from sixth in a field of 10 to win the Blue Norther by 1 1/2 lengths over 19-1 American Sun. Rainha Da Bateria, the 6-5 favorite, raced in traffic in early stretch and closed well to finish third, followed by Jaded Glory, Midnight Candy, Sea Mona, Singing Kitty, Sharla Rae, Wedding Blush, and Pankhurst.

Solis, 50, was emotional in a winner’s circle interview, stopping once to catch his breath.

“It’s very special,” he said. “I’m glad it’s over.”

Solis won the 4,999th race of his career on Nov. 28 at Del Mar. He rode sparingly through December, spending one weekend riding the Clasico Caribe program in Venezuela and spending time with family in his native Panama. The win on Lutine Belle ended a 14-race losing streak.

Solis won his first race in his native Panama in 1981. He also won the 2004 Dubai World Cup on Pleasantly Perfect.

Lutine Belle was his only mount on Thursday’s nine-race card.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for KMN Racing, Lutine Belle has won 3 of 6 starts and earned $92,700.

By Bellamy Road, the filly was purchased for $40,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale by a bloodstock agency operated by Solis’s son, Alex Solis II. The filly races for Kevin and Kim Nish of Fairfield, Calif.

“Doing it with one of my sons horses makes it special,” Solis said of the milestone.


Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Congrats to Alex. Best rides he ever gave were on Kona Gold. I wish him all the best.
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
One of my all-time favorites. Will always remember his ride on Pico Central in the Met Mile and his great stretch duel aboard Pleasantly Perfect against Jerry Bailey and Medaglia D'Oro in the World Cup. Congrats Alex!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
congrats to Alex, a real champ
Efrain Manriquez More than 1 year ago
It was a shame watching Smith AVOIDING to WIN. To much horse and to much experience to put him in traffic
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
No way. Yes he had a lot of horse but the horse is a stone cold closer and traffic happens ALL the time for closers.
ted More than 1 year ago
20 years of love for Alex, a real pro and gentleman.and thankfully he's now in HOF...about time
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
I'd like to see Mandella start giving him good mounts like the old days. You're right though he's still got just as much talent and savvy as Smith and especially Stevens.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
I'm an Alex fan. But, truth is he just isn't as good as those other guys anymore. I fully like and respect him, but watch him closely...he just isn't as good anymore.
Eleanor Sniegowski More than 1 year ago
mike smith gave the favorite a hall of shame ride in this race.I think his horse ran clear for a total of about 10 strides.
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
That happens when the horse has zero early speed - he has to come from last and make his way through 9 other horses to win. If you don't like traffic start playing speed horses.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
True Joe. I did laugh in my head though, while I was reading your comment, I was thinking if you don't want traffic don't bet on a horse Mike Smith is riding.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Great job