Sunday, January 14, 2007 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . January 14, 2007 . . . Hector Rosario Jr. put career win number 1,000 in the books at Turfway Park Sunday, closing with Crimson Dancer to take the fourth race by a length.
"It feels good to get it done," said the 25-year-old jockey.
Born in Puerto Rico, Rosario was six years old when his father, jockey Hector Rosario Sr., moved the family to Ohio. Inspired by his father's 18-year riding career, most spent at Thistledown in Cleveland, the younger Rosario began working as a hotwalker and groom when he was 14 years old. At 16 he was galloping horses at Thistledown, and he began his own career as an apprentice jockey in late 1999. Rosario won his first race in November of that year at the Cleveland track, crediting the late trainer Albert Palacios for his early success.
After recovering from an injury, Rosario moved his tack to New York in 2000 and resumed his apprenticeship. He ended 2001 as a finalist for the Eclipse Award for leading apprentice rider; the honor went to Jeremy Rose. Rosario returned to the Midwest in 2002 and now rides primarily in Ohio and Kentucky, where he is represented by agent Randy Romero.
Rosario has 16 career stakes wins, most recently the New Year's Eve Stakes at Mountaineer aboard Excellerant.