09/26/2006 11:00PM

Santagata wins No. 4,000 on DQ


He needed the assistance of the stewards to accomplish the feat, but jockey Nick Santagata managed to reach the 4,000-win milestone Tuesday night at Penn National Race Course.

Santagata, 49, who went 0 for 4 earlier in the day at Philadelphia Park, had just one mount at Penn National, and it appeared he would have to wait at least one more day to celebrate when 3-5 favorite Betsys Honor finished a neck behind Green Banquet in the second race.

But following an inquiry into the stretch run, the stewards disqualified Green Banquet and jockey Vladimir Diaz for drifting in and bumping Betsys Honor during the late stages of the $4,000 claiming race for fillies and mares, and they awarded the win to Santagata's mount.

Santagata, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., is best known as the all-time winningest rider at the Meadowlands. He comes into the start of the meet on Friday with 997 wins at the New Jersey track, where he has ridden at least one winner for 27 consecutive seasons.