02/07/2018 4:43PM

South American rider Jorge Ricardo breaks Baze's record for wins


Jorge Ricardo, a 56-year-old rider based in Brazil, broke the record for most all-time wins by a jockey when he took the fourth race on Wednesday at San Isidro racecourse in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The win gave Ricardo his 12,845th victory in a nearly 40-year career, breaking the record held by Russell Baze, the U.S. rider who retired in 2016 at the age of 57. No other U.S. rider is within 3,000 official wins of the pair.

Ricardo tied Baze’s mark on Monday at Hipodromo da Gavea in Rio de Janeiro, his home track. Following that victory, Ricardo was “mobbed by well-wishers and family,” according to the Racing Post. 

“I waited long for this and finally I got it,” Ricardo was quoted as saying. “I never in my life imagined I’d win so many races. I never had much time for vacations. I took a week, occasionally two. My life has always been about horseracing.”

Ricardo set the record Wednesday on Hope Glory, the second-choice in the six-horse race. 

Ricardo had three mounts left on the San Isidro card after breaking the record. On Monday, he took off the remainder of his mounts to celebrate the record-tying win. 

Ricardo is one of the most popular riders in Brazil, nicknamed Ricardinho, in the manner in which soccer stars are often nicknamed. The son of a trainer, he began riding at the age of 15, and he has ridden in approximately 70,000 races, according to South American newspapers. He has taken the riding title in Brazil 26 times, and added four more titles in Argentina.

Ricardo and Baze had traded the lead for most wins over the past decade, but Ricardo has faced a number of health setbacks since 2009 and spent months away from the sport on several occasions. According to the Racing Post, he has posted 180 wins in Grade 1 or Group 1 events.

Baze retired with little fanfare in June 2016. He walked away from the game relatively healthy, and he has stayed out of the spotlight since his retirement.