3000 Win Milestone:
Jockey Eddie Martin Jr. notched career win number 3000 on December 8, 2006, at Aqueduct aboard Sweetiewheatie in a $30,000 claiming race. After the race, he said, "I ride them all hard. It was just a matter of time before I would get it. There were no frustrations. I am honored to be here in New York. I'm glad I got it here - or anywhere. Now, I can concentrate on 4,000. It's just a number. I'm going to go out in the next race and try just as hard. I hope there is plenty more ahead of it. I'm healthy, riding good and it's not even that cold today for me."
Eddie Martin Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 26, 1963. His parents, who owned racehorses, lived in nearby Slidell and exposed their sons to the business end of racing early on. His brother Chris is a jockey, and another brother Ben is an exercise rider.
He entered horse racing when J.E. "Buster" Leger, his parents' trainer, suggested he work on his farm the summer before he was to start ninth grade. He learned all the bottom-level jobs and gained experience on caring for horses. The following summer, Leger allowed him to get aboard a horse and the rest is history. At 16 Martin took out his exercise rider license. "Mr. Leger was very insistent that I develop the fundamentals before I progressed to the next step," Martin explained. "I galloped for him for six months until he agreed it was time for me to get my apprentice license, which I did."
Martin has ridden many nice horses since his first win, aboard Morality at Delta Downs in 1980. Top mounts have included Catboat (2004 Arlington Breeders' Cup Oaks), Spanish Empire (2004 Fifth Season Stakes), Runway Model (2004 Golden Rod Stakes), Halory Leigh (2004 Falls City Handicap) and Real Cozzy (2001 Fair Grounds Oaks). His biggest career victory and first since suffering a fractured shoulder on September 5 at Ellis Park, came aboard She Says It Best in the Alcibiades Stakes (G2) at Keeneland on Oct. 7, 2006.
A regular on the Midwest circuit, he has ridden at every major track in the nation except Del Mar and Santa Anita Park. He has won riding titles at Fair Grounds, Jefferson Downs, Beulah Park and Lone Star Park, and in his back yard, the Fair Grounds, Martin was in the top three in the standings for 15 years. On January 18, 2004 he rode a record-tying six winners at the Fair Grounds. He has had success in Louisiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, Texas, and now in Illinois.
He is married and he and wife Dorothy have a son Beau and daughters Alexandra and Caitlyn. His home in Metairie, LA, was damaged and his summer home in Bay St. Louis, MS was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. He said, "My wife and daughters came to Chicago last summer for a visit. We drove all around the area. One evening we were down on the lakefront, looking back at the skyline, and we all seemed to come to the same conclusion: we would like to settle here. It's likely to happen. Dorothy is working on her master's degree in psychology. She's on track to finish next year, and that would open the door for us to move."