08/18/2011 2:15PM

Suffolk: Piermarini closing in on career milestone

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Jockey Tammi Piermarini enters Saturday’s card at Suffolk Downs just four wins away from 2,000 career victories and the 44-year-old leading rider says the significance of the accomplishment is just starting to sink in.

“At first it didn’t really hit me because I never really followed the numbers,” Piermarini said. “The more people talk about it, the biggest thing that occurs to me is that I’m doing this while having three kids through it all. That’s huge.”

New England has long been a place where female jockeys have been given a fair chance. Piermarini’s matter-of-fact attitude about what she is about to achieve is indicative of that.

“We have come a long way and there are quite a few of us that are finding success,” she said. “There are some guys that are just so completely old school. They will never ride a girl, but that has been changing along the way and we are making progress.”

Piermarini was excited recently by the rare opportunity to ride for Sheik Mohammed’s Godolphin Stable in a July 25 allowance race here. The second-place finish aboard Abtasaamah allowed her to join Rosemary Homeister as the only female jockeys to have donned Godolphin’s famous blue silks in the United States.

“I wish we could have finished better,” said Piermarini. “It was her first start in the U.S. and she was pretty green and the track was very, very, very laboring and we came up a little bit short, but when you think about all the horses the Sheikh has, it was very exciting.”

Piermarini leads the Suffolk standings with 58 wins, 15 clear of Jackie Davis.

Nice match-up in First Episode Stakes

Three weeks after shocking a field of males and females in the Last Dance Stakes, Tally’s Sundance squares off with fellow Massachusetts-bred stakes winner Out of Goodbyes in the $50,000 First Episode Stakes.

Out of Goodbyes has been waiting for this mile 70-yard contest since taking the Isadorable Stakes on July  30. Tallys Sundance, who finished second in this race last year, relished the chance to return to a route and scored last out at 23-1.

The First Episode will be the first two-turn race for Out of Goodbyes. She is 3 for 5 in stakes races and was being pointed toward these statebred routes last fall before being sidelined with an injury.

For Tally’s Sundance it will be her fourth straight stakes start since the series began with the Rise Jim last month.

Southoftheborder has finished fourth or better in every First Episode stakes since 2006, including a win in 2009. She makes her fourth straight stakes start under jockey Jorge Vargas, who notched his 3,000th career victory two weeks ago.