08/09/2006 11:00PM

Velez notches 3,000th win

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Bill Denver / EQUI-PHOTOS
Jockey Jose Lezcano is unseated during Hermosillo's erratic stretch run in Wednesday's fourth race.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Jose Velez Jr. got his 3,000th career victory Thursday at Monmouth Park aboard Careless Glances in the eighth race.

"It's an accomplishment in my career," Velez said. "I don't know how far I can go. I think I've got a good five years in me."

Velez was swarmed by fellow jockeys for a celebration and commemorative photo in the winner's circle.

Velez, 43, started riding at Atlantic City Race Course in 1980 and won his first race that year at the Meadowlands.

"It doesn't feel like such a long time, but it is," Velez said.

Velez has ridden extensively in Florida and is a member of Calder's Hall of Fame. He became a steady member of the Monmouth jockey colony in 1994.

Velez rode Balto Star to the victory in Monmouth's Grade 1 United Nations in 2003. He also had notable seconds with North East Bound in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Mile and Sei Mi in the 2002 Dubai World Cup.

While Velez has settled in as one of the senior riders at Monmouth, with Mark Hennig, Alan Seewald, John Tammaro III, Jamie Woodington, and Amy Tarrant among his major clients, he never broke through here in a major way.

"I never really rode for the leading trainers here," Velez said. "I'd win races for them, but I never rode steady for them. I hold my own pretty good, considering I don't have the big outfits. I got to 3,000 the hard way."

Velez has never won a Monmouth title. His best finish was second in 2002.

Bold Decision gets a break

After chasing Commentator and Weigelia in his last two starts, Bold Decision gets some class relief Saturday in the $55,000 Sneakbox Stakes at Monmouth Park.

A 4-year-old gelding, Bold Decision will face six rivals in the 5 1/2-furlong stakes on the grass.

In Bold Decision's last race, the Mugatea Stakes for New York-breds on the main track at Belmont Park, trainer Laurie Lafavers was hoping for a relatively soft spot. The race deepened when Commentator, last year's Grade 1 Whitney winner, joined the field and ran off to a commanding win with Bold Decision third.

"That was a really tough spot," Lafavers said. "We were just trying to find a New York-bred spot."

In his previous race, Bold Decision chased Weigelia in a Belmont turf sprint. Weigelia came back to run third on the main track in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder.

Before that, Bold Decision set the pace in Belmont's Grade 3 Jaipur Handicap on the grass and finished second, losing by three-quarters of a length.

Lezcano bruised but not broken

Jose Lezcano suffered bruises but no serious injuries in a fall in the ninth race here on Wednesday.

Lezcano was aboard Hermosillo, a 2-year-old New Jersey-bred making his debut. The colt ran very erratically in the lane, first lugging into eventual winner Bythebeautifulsea before ducking out. Lezcano came off the horse and landed just past the finish line.

Lezcano, 21 and second in the Monmouth standings, was taken to Monmouth Medical Center for precautionary X-rays and sent home around 10:30 p.m.

"He got up, got dressed, and walked out of the hospital," said Lezcano's agent, Jason Beides. "He's bruised up pretty bad, but there are no broken bones. He's got some back pain."

Lezcano took off his Thursday mounts. Beides was optimistic the rider would return Friday.

The stewards ruled that Hermosillo failed to carry the listed weight of 119 pounds to the finish. He was disqualified from first and placed last in the 12-horse field.

Trainer-owner Eddie Broome planned to meet with the stewards on Friday to discuss the ruling.

"It was a judgment call that went against me, but in a lot of people's opinion he was still carrying the weight to the wire," Broome said.