11/20/2012 11:14AM

Zia Park: Eikleberry wins 1,000th Thoroughbred race


Jockey Ry Eikleberry won the 1,000th Thoroughbred race of his career Monday at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M., when he guided One Fine Jewel to a neck win in the 11th race. One Fine Jewel rallied from off the pace in the $5,000 conditioned claiming route, and paid $22.60.

The milestone was a meaningful one for Eikleberry, a 23-year-old native of Phoenix who stands 5-foot-9.

“It’s something I can look back at and be proud of,” he said.

“I was kind of down [early in my career] because everyone I ever talked to said, ‘You’ll never make it. You might ride a few races, but you’re going to be too big.’”

Eikleberry won the first race of his career at Arapahoe Park in Colorado, on July 8, 2005. The horse was named Chopin’s Crescendo. He would go on to win three consecutive titles at Turf Paradise in Phoenix between 2009-2011. Overall, Eikleberry has won 1,132 races from 7,344 starts in a record that includes Quarter Horse victories. His mounts have earned $13,808,904.

Eikleberry, who is from a family of trainers, rode One Fine Jewel for Michael Goldman and trainer Joel Marr.