03/13/2004 1:00AM

Prado gets 5,000th win

Edgar Prado celebrates his 5,000th career victory at Gulfstream Park after guiding Wynn Dot Comma to a head victory in the $150,000 Swale Stakes.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Edgar Prado was winning races in bunches the last few weeks so when he went winless with 10 straight mounts, it was considered to be a major slump.

Prado broke out of that slump in exciting fashion Saturday, guiding Wynn Dot Comma to a head victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 at Gulfstream Park to record his 5,000th career victory. Prado, 36, became just the 19th jockey to reach the 5,000-win plateau.

Prado had won five races on Thursday's card to move within one of the milestone. But, he went winless with four mounts on Friday and his first six on Saturday before the Swale.

"I was working real hard since [Friday] to get this win,'' Prado said. "Like I said before, this is both an end and a beginning for me, because now is the time to start working toward 6,000 wins.''

Prado did just that when he guided Dedication to victory in the race following the Swale, the $60,000 Marshua's River Stakes, for win 5,001.

Prado almost got his 5,000th via disqualification in the second. Sir Shackleton, under Javier Castellano, appeared to drift into Prado's path aboard Willy o'the Valley in the stretch. Prado claimed foul, but the stewards disallowed it.

"That would have taken some of the flavor off of it,'' Prado said. "I think this was better, winning by a head in a stakes race.''

Prado began his career in his native Peru in 1984 before coming to the U.S. in 1986. He led the nation in wins from 1997-99 and moved his tack from Maryland to New York in the summer of 1999.

As for potentially challenging Laffit Pincay's record of 9,531, Prado would have to average 250 winners a year for 18 years to get close. While Prado would only be 54 by then, he's not sure it's feasible.

"The more I think about it, the more discouraged I get,'' Prado said.