OCEANPORT, N.J., JULY 28 -- Angel Cordero Jr. became the fourth jockey in history to reach 6,000 victories when he rode two winners today at Monmouth Park.
Cordero was victorious in both divisions of the Colleen Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. He rode Blue Jean Baby to an easy victory in the seventh race, and won No. 6,000 when Lost Kitty beat Granny's Portrait by a nose in the ninth race.
Cordero, 44, joins Bill Shoemaker, Johnny Longden and Laffit Pincay Jr. as the only jockeys to win 6,000 races. Shoemaker, still riding, is the all-time leader with more than 8,600 victories.
By going two for two today, Cordero ended a five-for-55 slump that began July 16. After failing to win on any of his six mounts Monday at Belmont Park, including five favorites, the two-time Eclipse Award winner was booed.
Cordero was zero for three Sunday at Belmont, and things didn't get much better after he left the track; at a New York restaurant that night, he almost choked to death while eating baked clams. Cordero's dinner companion, Marjorie Clayton, saved him by applying the Heimlich maneuver.
"Believe me, I was never so scared in my life," he said.
Cordero won his 5,999th race in the $62,725 first division of the Colleen, riding Blue Jean Baby to an eight-length triumph in a stakes record-tying 1:03 4/5 for 5 1/2 furlongs.
The 6,000th triumph was not as easy. Cordero staved off early challenges by Hushi, the 4-to-5 favorite, and My Caravan, then barely withstood Granny's Portrait down the stretch.
"Finally," Cordero said after he posed with 18-month-old daughter Julie in the winner's circle. "It's taken a long time. I'll probably go to New York tomorrow and win three races and they'll boo at me."
He returned to the jockeys' room amid cheers from a crowd of 9,326 at the seaside track.
Cordero had hoped to reach 6,000 victories last year, but he suffered a broken leg and lacerated liver in a spill at Aqueduct in March 1986, sidelining him more than four months. However, he won an 11th straight riding title at Saratoga in August.
Cordero, whose first victory came at Puerto Rico's El Commandante race track in 1960, has won more than $115 million in purses, third behind Pincay and Shoemaker.
He has won three Kentucky Derbys, two Preakness Stakes and one Belmont Stakes.
Cordero was inducted into Puerto Rico's Racing Hall of Fame in 1985. He won't be eligible for the U.S. Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., until five years after his retirement.