02/17/2011 8:53PM

Rosario wins 1,000th race as jockey

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Benoit & Associates
Jockey Joel Rosario celebrates his 1,000th career victory Thursday at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Jockey Joel Rosario recorded the 1,000th win of his career in the United States and Canada at Santa Anita on Thursday when Coo Cachoo led throughout an optional claimer in the seventh race.

“The 1,000th win sounds good,” he said in the winner’s circle. “I want to thank the owners and trainers who supported me.”

While he cherished the milestone, Rosario, 26, is poised for a run at a more elusive record this winter and spring – most stakes wins during a Santa Anita winter-spring meeting. Through Thursday, Rosario led all riders at this meeting with nine stakes wins.

The record of 19 stakes wins is shared by Laffit Pincay Jr. (1982-83) and Corey Nakatani (1996-97). Rosario has a chance to add to his total Monday when he rides Lilly Fa Pootz in the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap for fillies and mares on turf and Quiet Oasis in the La Habra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the hillside turf course.

By mid-March, Rosario should know whether he can topple Pincay and Nakatani’s record. In coming weeks, he rides likely favorite Twirling Candy in the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 5, the same day he rides Sidney’s Candy in the $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile. A week later, Rosario rides favored Switch in the Santa Margarita Invitational Stakes.

Rosario has already won two Grade 1 stakes at this meeting on Switch – the La Brea and Santa Monica Stakes. Later at the meeting, he is expected to ride Anthony’s Cross in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9. Rosario rode Anthony’s Cross to victory in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb. 12.

Rosario entered Thursday’s program two wins shy of 1,000 wins in the United States and Canada. The win total does not include one race Rosario won earlier in his career in Puerto Rico, according to a statement from Santa Anita publicity.

On Thursday, Rosario won the fourth race on the closer Bestdressed ($6.20), who rallied from last. Coo Cachoo led throughout the seventh race, over a mile, pulling clear in the final furlong to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

“I feel great,” Rosario said in the winner’s circle.

Rosario rode Coo Cachoo for Charles Gold, 94, of Beverly Hills, and trainer Julio Canani. Coo Cachoo turned for home with a two-length lead and drew away quickly.

“Inside, it was a beautiful feeling,” Rosario said of the victory. “I’m hoping to continue every day.”

Rosario has emerged as one of the leading riders in Southern California in recent years. In 2010, he won riding titles at the Hollywood Park spring-summer and fall meetings and at Del Mar. Through Thursday, he was second in the standings at Santa Anita with 42 wins, four less than leader Rafael Bejarano.