Tyler Gaffalione said: “I love what I do. I love being here. It couldn’t have happened at a better place, my home track.”
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione rode his 2,000th winner Friday at Gulfstream Park, where his burgeoning riding career began back in 2014.
The 28-year-old Davie, FL native had closed to within one victory of 2000 wins in Friday’s Race 3 aboard pick-up mount Temerity ($8) before reaching the milestone aboard Megacity ($10) in Race 6.
“I feel so blessed. I just want to thank the people who have gotten me to this point, all the people who put in numerous hours in the mornings to make my job easier,” Gaffalione said. “I love what I do. I love being here. It couldn’t have happened at a better place, my home track.”
Gaffalione, who won his first race on only his third mount, Holdin’ Bullets Sept. 5, 2014 at Gulfstream, enjoyed considerable success right from the start, being honored with an Eclipse Award for the outstanding apprentice jockey in 2015.
“I was a little worried we weren’t going to get it done today and then we’re going out of town tomorrow,” said Gaffalione, who is scheduled to ride at Fair Grounds Saturday. “But it all worked out.”
Gaffalione notched Win No. 2001 aboard Concrete Glory ($5.20) in Race 9.
Gaffalione, whose father and grandfather were jockeys, is coming off a career-best 2022 season, during which he won seven Grade 1 races, including the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) aboard White Abarrio, whom he is scheduled to ride in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) presented by Baccarat. He also won his first two Breeders’ Cup races with Wonder Wheel in the Juvenile Fillies (G1) and Caravel in the Turf Sprint (G1).
Wonder Wheel’s Hall of Fame trainer Mark Case provided Gaffalione with his first success in a Triple Crown race via 2019 Preakness Stakes (G1) winner War of Will.
Gaffalione has established himself as Kentucky’s most dominant jockey for the past several years while annually ranking among the top jocks during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet.
Junior Alvarado is sitting on Win No. 1999 heading into Saturday’s program for which he has eight scheduled mounts, including Hot Blooded in the $75,0000 Sunshine Sprint.