02/04/2006 12:00AM

Santos rides 4,000th winner


Saturday was a busy day for jockey Jose Santos, who rode the 4,000th winner of his career and also announced he was splitting up with his agent.

Santos, winner of the 1988 Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey and winner of the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes aboard Funny Cide, became the 46th rider to reach the 4,000-win plateau with a wire-to-wire victory on Melodeeman in Aqueduct's fifth race, a preliminary allowance sprint at six furlongs.

The win was the 28th of the winter meet for Santos, who ranked sixth in the standings.

"I'd be happy with another thousand, believe me," said Santos, who will turn 45 on April 26. "It's been a long road. Not too many of us reach 4,000 or 5,000. It was a lot of hard work and there were a lot of ups and downs. It's definitely more special to do this in New York."

Santos' milestone victory came on a day when he parted ways with agent Mike Sellitto and announced he was reuniting with his longtime former agent, Drew Mollica.

"Mike and I had a mutual agreement, and it's going to be the best for both of us," said Santos. "We're still friends and there are no hard feelings. We decided to go different ways."