Tohill, 57, Eyes 4,000-Win Milestone With Detour To Oaklawn

Ken Tohill enters 2021 chasing a career milestone. That chase begins at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Ark., where the veteran jockey will be riding regularly for the second time after winning 22 races from 172 mounts in 2014 to tie for seventh in the standings.

According to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization, Tohill, 57, entered Saturday with 3,928 career victories to rank 84th in North American history. Only 77 riders in North American history, through Friday, had reached 4,000, according to Equibase.

“That’s something I didn’t think 15 years ago was even a possibility,” Tohill said. “Now, I always said I’m not quitting until after 4,000.”

Tohill rode his first winner in 1979 and has been a fixture in New Mexico, Iowa and Northern California (the back yard of all-time North American kingpin Russell Baze), consistently ranking among the top 100 riders nationally in victories since 2004. He won a career-high 221 races in 2005 to finish 20th nationally.

“I really kind of ruined the first two-thirds of my career,” Tohill said. “Just drinking and scared to leave Northern California. You had Russell Baze there. Think it was more fear than anything.”

Tohill said his return to Oaklawn coincides with COVID-19 restrictions, which continues to shutter racing in New Mexico. He rode nine winners at the recently concluded Remington Park meeting.

“It changed all of our patterns,” Tohill said of the virus. “They’re shut down in New Mexico. There wasn’t an option. Then, my business had started picking up at Remington and a couple of offers from people that would ride me.”

Tohill is named on two horses Jan. 22 (opening day) – All Shacked Up in the first race for 2015 Oaklawn leading trainer Chris Hartman and Five Star Moon in the fourth race for trainer Tim Martin. Tohill rode 15 of his winners at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting for Hartman.

“I’m going to pester everybody, but hopefully I’ll have a little business with Hartman again,” Tohill said. “That’s my main push.”

Tohill said he doesn’t know where he’ll ride after the Oaklawn meet ends May 1, adding there are no thoughts of retirement, especially since he’s poised to reach a career milestone in 2021.

“I’m going to go until the body … or I don’t belong,” Tohill said. “Right now, I feel really good. I probably feel as good as I did years ago. Knock on wood, I hope it stays like this.”

Tohill is represented at Oaklawn by agent Joe Santos. Tohill’s only other Oaklawn mount came in 2009 aboard Kick On, who finished 11th in the $250,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds. Alsvid, the Hartman-trained millionaire sprinter, and multiple stakes winner Mr. Trieste are among Tohill’s top career mounts.

The post Tohill, 57, Eyes 4,000-Win Milestone With Detour To Oaklawn appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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