By Dick Jerardi
As I was cruising around the Equibase website doing some research on trainer Steve Asmussen as he pursues the all-time wins record (after Saturday’s races, he trailed Dale Baird by 11 wins, 9,445 to 9,434), my eyes kept darting to the all-time wins list for horses, trainers, and jockeys because I kept seeing horses and people with Parx connections.
Win Man, a Parx Hall of Famer, is second all-time with 48 wins (the records only go back to the 1970s so some horses with more wins are not on the list). Racing from 1987-1995, Win Man, trained by Ernest Cranfield, started 178 times with those 48 wins, 18 seconds, and 23 thirds. Almost all of his races were either at Parx or Penn National.
Jilsie’s Gigalo, with 45 wins, is tied for fourth-most with Guy. Jilsie’s Gigalo raced all over in his 136-race career but made his final eight starts at what was then called Philadelphia Park in 1996. The guy was a Maryland fixture who was golden when he made the lead, hopeless when he didn’t. He raced 161 times from 1976 to 1986. His lone stop at old Keystone was on March 3, 1984.
Cheating Arthur, a Parx HOF trained by a Parx HOF (Dennis Heimer), is tied for 69th on the list with 34 wins after a great career, mostly at Keystone. Dave’s Friend, like Guy, was a Maryland horse until later in his career, but he did race at Keystone. Dave is tied for 53rd on the list with 35 wins. Arthur and Dave were each multiple stakes winners.
Scott Lake, a first-year Parx HOF, is sixth all-time in wins (6,190) for trainers. He has been a Parx regular for years. He is no longer trying to win 500 races in a year. He downsized his stable because the pace was impossible to keep. But he remains one of the sharpest minds in the sport.
Jamie Ness, the 2020 and certain 2021 leading Parx trainer, is 26th with 3,359 wins. At his current pace, he will hit the top 10 (now 4.745 wins) in a decade or less.
Dave Vance (3,186, 30th) was a Keystone regular back in the day. Ron Dandy (2,829, 39th) and Ned Allard (2,730, 46th) won the majority of their races in New England, but spent considerable time at Parx.
Just 37 jockeys are in the exclusive 5,000 wins club. Tony Black is the all-time leader at Parx. Stewart Elliott rode the great Smarty Jones. Each was a first-year Parx HOF. So was the brilliant Rick Wilson who would have joined them in the 5,000-club had his career not been prematurely ended by injury.
Black (5,211 wins) is just ahead of Elliott (5,204) now. Tony is sort of retired, but who knows. Stewart, still going strong, just won the Lone Star Parx meet with 71 wins. They are 31st and 32nd all-time. Rick is 39th with 4,939 wins.
The wonderful Jose Flores, who tragically died in a racing accident, is 44th with 4,650 wins. The great tactician Jeff Lloyd (4,276) is 59th. Each is a Parx HOF. Robert Colton (3,988 wins), who won big at Penn National and Parx, is 81st on the all-time list
Joe Bravo, who really got his career started at Philadelphia Park in 1988 is 24th with 5,498 wins. But he is Jersey Joe for a reason. Jose Ferrer (4,585, 45th) is another rider who spent considerable time at Parx, but, like Bravo, is probably more identified with Jersey racing.
The bottom line, this is an amazing list of accomplishments for some of the best in the sport who just happened to do most of their winning at Parx.