Jose Santos wins 4000th race:
Jockey Jose Santos guided 6-1 Melodeeman to a 5 1/2 length victory in Saturday afternoon's fifth race at Aqueduct Racetrack, giving the Chilean his 4,000th career victory in North America. Santos said, "I'd be happy with another thousand, believe me. It's been a long road. Not too many of us reach 4,000 or 5,000. It was a lot of hard work and there were a lot of ups and downs. It's definitely more special to do this in New York."
New York Moments:
In a career that includes victories in the 2003 Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Jockey Club Gold Cup aboard Funny Cide, Santos has always
done well in New York and at Aqueduct. On February 10 and 11, 1988, Santos rode five winners on two consecutive days at Aqueduct. He also won both the Belmont and Travers Stakes aboard Lemon Drop Kid in 1999.
Breeders' Cup Wins:
Santos has seven Breeders' Cup victories, including the 2002 Classic with Volponi, at 43-to-1, the longest shot on the board. His other victories include two in the Turf with Chief Bearhart (1997) and Manila (1986), two in the Juvenile with Fly So Free (1990) and Success Express (1987), the Juvenile Fillies with Meadow Star (1990), and the Mile with Steinlen (1989).
His Beginnings in Chile:
He rode his first race at Hipico Racecourse in Chile when he was 14. Santos said, "My father was a jockey so I went to the racetrack a lot as a little boy. I started working in the barns when I was eight years old." He began riding in Florida in early 1984 and quickly moved to the top of the standings. He then moved to New York in 1985, California in 1990, and returned to New York in July 1991.
Career Records and Awards:
Santos won four consecutive national money titles: 1986 ($11,329,297), 1987 ($12,407,355), 1988 ($14,877,298) and 1989 ($13,847,003) as well as an Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey in 1988. He has won individual meet titles at Saratoga, Belmont, Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Hialeah and Calder. His other awards include the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award from The Jockeys' Guild in 1999 and ESPN's 2003 ESPY Award as outstanding jockey.
He and His Family:
Santos was born on April 26, 1961 in Concepcion Chile. His is 5' 2" tall and weighs only 112 pounds. He is married and has five daughters and two sons. His father Manuel and three of his seven brothers were jockeys as is his brother-in-law Heberto Castillo Jr.