02/04/2005 1:00AM

Migliore has winner 4,000


Richard Migliore recorded his 4,000th career victory on Friday, guiding Benjamin Baby ($3.30) to a 7 1/2-length victory in an entry-level allowance race at Aqueduct. Earlier on the card, Migliore won with Hurricane Erica ($6.20).

Migliore, 40, became the 43rd rider to reach the 4,000-win plateau, a milestone he coveted for a long time.

"I wanted it badly, and I'm real proud of the achievement because I started my career here and all my statistics are in the major leagues - nothing's padded," said Migliore, who was joined in the winner's circle by his wife, Carmela, their four children, and several close friends.

"I'm real fortunate to ride for good people," he said. "You don't get to 4,000 wins without a lot of help, and I've had a lot of help along the way."

Migliore, who won the Eclipse Award as the nation's leading apprentice in 1981, got emotional remembering a friend, Vinnie Carrera, a retired New York City detective who died earlier this year.

"He kept telling me 'I'm going to be there for 4,000, I'm going to be there for 4,000,' " said Migliore, who recorded his first victory on Sept. 29, 1980. "Well, Vinnie Carrera was here with me today. It's just a good feeling. I'm just relieved it's over. I think 5,000 is a realistic goal. That's something I'd like to shoot for."

Migliore also dedicated his 4,000th victory to Mike Rowland, a jockey who died as a result of injuries suffered in a spill that, coincidentally, occurred on Feb. 4, 2004. Rowland was only three victories shy of 4,000.

"I'd like to give this win to him and his family in my mind, because I recognize how close he came to a fantastic milestone," Migliore said.