Jockey Leslie Mawing rides win No. 2,000 | Emerald Downs

Leslie Mawing surges Grand Baylee (No. 2) past Tullamore Dew in the fifth race at Emerald Downs to give the 38-year-old jockey the 2,000th win of his 18-year career. - Photo courtesy Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs Photo
Leslie Mawing surges Grand Baylee (No. 2) past Tullamore Dew in the fifth race at Emerald Downs to give the 38-year-old jockey the 2,000th win of his 18-year career.
— image credit: Photo courtesy Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs Photo

Jockey Leslie Mawing rode the 2,000th winner of his career Thursday evening at Emerald Downs.

The 38-year-old native of Johannesburg, South Africa achieved the milestone aboard Grand Baylee in the fifth race, rallying the 3-year-old Lion Heart filly from far back for a 5-to-1 upset over odds-on favorite Tullamore Dew.

“I didn’t think we were going to get there, but we got up in the shadow of the wire,” Mawing said of his 2,000th winner. The official winning margin was a neck, as Grand Baylee rolled from nine lengths back to tag the 2-to-5 favorite Tullamore Dew in the final strides.

Accompanied in the winner’s circle by his wife Catherine and three children, Mawing paid tribute to all the horsemen and fans that have supported him throughout an 18-year career that began at Les Bois Park in Boise, Idaho in 1994.

“I want to thank all the trainers, owners, family, friends and fans,” Mawing said. “I’ve had a lot of support over the years.”

Mawing pointed out that exactly $2,000 was wagered on Grand Baylee to win and said it was an omen from his father, who had encouraged him to become a jockey. He began the night needing two wins for the milestone and got the first one aboard 11-to-10 favorite Cresent McGain in the third race.

Mawing, who won his first Emerald Downs riding title last year with 129 wins, has 464 victories at Emerald Downs, and the 2,000 wins make him the track’s leading active rider. Gallyn Mitchell, winner of 2,612 races lifetime, is likely sidelined for the season with a broken hand.

However, Mawing has a big hill to climb if he’s to win another title in 2012, as leading rider Juan Gutierrez also rode two winners Thursday and maintained a nine-win lead, 75-66, over Mawing atop the standings. There are 24 days left in the 81-day meeting.

NOTES: Grand Baylee became only the fifth horse to win four races at the meet, joining Go With Gusto, Zippin E, Seattle Game and Akina in the four victory club*Jennifer Whitaker also rode two winners Thursday including a half-length victory aboard Snow On the River ($8.40) in the Ashbaugh Beal Claiming Challenge Purse for 3-year-olds and up. The winner is a 6-year-old Stephanotis gelding trained by Dennis Snowden and co-owned by Dennis and Monique Snowden*Whitaker, the track’s all-time leading woman jockey, needs three wins for 400 at Emerald Downs, but Debbie Hoonan is in hot pursuit with 392 EmD wins including a triumph on He’s Tickled ($4.60) in Thursday’s opener*Howard Belvoir led the trainers with two winners: Get Well ($5.80) in the second and Curvitude in the nightcap*The $0.50 Pick 5 on races three through seven paid a whopping $6,257.55 to one winning ticket. The sequence included both Mawing winners*Live racing continues Friday with first post 6:15 p.m.

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