Fittingly, Laffit Pincay Jr.'s ride to thoroughbred racing history began from the No. 1 post. When it ended, he was No. 1.
Pincay guided Irish Nip to a two-length victory in the sixth race at Hollywood Park for his 8,834th victory today, breaking Bill Shoemaker's 29-year-old record and making him the world's winningest jockey.
"I felt like I won the Kentucky Derby all over again," he said.
Pincay, 52, took Irish Nip to a slim lead out of the gate along the rail and dueled most of the way with Laps N'Bounds, who stuck his head in front briefly. Pincay tapped Irish Nip five times through the stretch and the horse inched clear.
"I said, 'I think I got it this time,' " said Pincay, who went 1 for 5 today.
The crowd roared as Pincay crossed the finish line first on the 44,647th mount of his 35-year career. He ducked his head down, raised his right arm in the air, then pumped it up and down.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Pincay told an outrider on the backstretch. "It's really nice."
Shoemaker had owned the victory mark since 1970, when he took it from Johnny Longden. Shoemaker, 68, was on hand watching Pincay, who had lost his first three races.
CAPTION: Laffit Pincay Jr. rides Irish Nip across the finish line for a two-length victory in the sixth race. "It's an unbelievable feeling," he said. "It's really nice."