10/31/2005 1:00AM

Stevens hits 5,000 wins

Gary Stevens
Gary Stevens celebrates his 5,000th career victory on Sunday with his victory aboard Joint Aspiration in the $69,950 Gaviola Stakes at Belmont Park.

Gary Stevens recorded his 5,000th career victory on Sunday, when he guided Joint Aspiration to a two-length victory in the $69,950 at Belmont Park.

Stevens's total includes 117 winners in Europe, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Hong Kong that are not officially recognized by Daily Racing Form or Equibase. DRF and Equibase count only North American wins and wins in the World Championship Series, which includes such races as the Dubai World Cup.

Nevertheless, Belmont and Stevens's fellow riders recognized the feat by presenting him a placard identifying his 5,000th career win and a chocolate cake, and then smashing the cake in Stevens's face in the winner's circle.

Stevens, 43, a three-time Kentucky Derby winner and the Eclipse Award-winning rider of 1988, seemed humbled by the achievement.

"It's quite a feat," Stevens said. "It makes me respect the guys that are ahead of me - Shoemaker, Pincay, Day, Baze - that much more. They've got 4,000 more than what I've got and I know the blood, sweat, and tears it's taken me to get to this. My hat's off to those guys."

Joint Aspiration, who was making her North American debut, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.35 over the Widener Turf Course and returned $12.80 to win. Joint Aspiration, bred in Britain, is trained by Jeremy Noseda and owned by Fergus Galvin.