03/01/2013 5:56PM

Oaklawn: Steve Hobby trains 1,000th winner

Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park
Trainer Steve Hobby gets a little celebratory cake on the occasion of his 1,000th training victory as winning rider Rosemary Homeister Jr. shares the moment.

Steve Hobby won the 1,000th Thoroughbred race of his training career Friday at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., when Ruthless Empire cruised to a 6 3/4-length win in the seventh race. Hobby, who early in his career trained Quarter Horses, also won his first Thoroughbred race at Oaklawn, on Feb. 20, 1985.

“It feels great,” Hobby said of reaching the milestone. “And I really wanted to do it here.”

Hobby, 56, is a former jockey who has long operated one of the leading barns at Oaklawn. His best horses through the years include Telling, with whom he won the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga in both 2009 and 2010; Chindi, a Grade 3-winning sprinter who earned $1 million; Brush with Pride and Belle of Cozzene, a pair of Grade 3 winners who each earned more than $500,000; and Tiz Miz Sue, a Grade 1-placed runner pointing for the Azeri later this month at Oaklawn.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” Hobby said.

Ruthless Empire ($3.80) stalked the pace in third on Friday, and drew clear through the stretch. Rosemary Homeister Jr., was aboard for the ownership group PHWL Partnership.

Following the race, Hobby was feted in the infield winner’s circle, surrounded by a large crowd of family members, owners and fellow trainers. During the ceremony, retired jockey Tim Doocy, regular rider on Chindi, held one end of a sign congratulating Hobby.

Hobby has saddled 5,560 career Thoroughbred starters through Friday, and together the horses have earned more than $20 million. He is a native of La Harpe, Ill.