Saturday, February 21, 2009 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 21, 2009 . . . Jockey Billy Troilo earned his 2,500th career win Saturday when he guided Sabeeb to a two-length victory in the sixth race at Turfway Park.
The milestone win came one race after Troilo earned win number 2,499 with Queen of Victory. He added win number 2,501 in the eighth race aboard Overdrive.
A veteran of winter racing at Turfway, Troilo stood in chilly rain and blustery wind for photos with friends, fans, and fellow jockeys. "It's only fitting I should do it on a day like today," he grinned. "As long as we're going to be outside in this kind of weather, we might as well try to make as much money as we can."
Describing the headline ride, Troilo said, "I've ridden this mare before, and she'd break good and be laying close, but she wouldn't finish anywhere. Today I wanted her to save a little bit, so I tucked her right in on the rail and followed the leader. Then the rail opened up and I was able to have some horse left. She tries hard. She gives you what she's got."
Born in Philadelphia, Troilo started his career at the suggestion of a friend who introduced him to George "Rusty" Arnold II, then a young trainer based in the Midwest. He started working for Arnold in 1979, took out his jockey's license in 1982, and earned his first career win that year at River Downs. Throughout his career he has consistently finished among leading riders in Ohio and Kentucky, with 10 River Downs titles since his first there in 1991.
Troilo, who will turn 48 on St. Patrick's Day, has amassed career earnings surpassing $27 million. His win total includes 78 stakes victories, recently including the 2008 River City Handicap (G3) at Churchill Downs aboard Karelian. He has 11 stakes wins at Turfway, most recently the 2008 Wishing Well with the outstanding race mare Lady Belsara, the 2008 Gowell Stakes with Step Out Smartly, and the 2009 WEBN Stakes with Parade Clown.
Among personal career highlights, Troilo counts a win for Calumet Farm aboard Antoniette in the 1999 River Cities Breeders' Cup; his races and win aboard multiple stakes winner Hail a Cab; and a streak in 1992 that brought him seven stakes wins at five different tracks. Troilo crafted a similar streak in 2003-04 when he won five stakes races with Devil Time, including a 16-length victory in the Best of Ohio Endurance at Beulah Park.
In addition to his jockey's license, Troilo has held a Kentucky realtor's license since 2003. He makes his home in Burlington, Ky., with his wife, Mary, Turfway's longtime director of simulcasting.