01/01/2015 9:07PM

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

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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.