From the Paulick Report
It was just another day at the office for Alex Solis after recording career victory No. 5,000 Thursday at Santa Anita.
Sure, there were high fives, handshakes and other congratulatory gestures, in addition to obligatory photo ops recording the milestone for posterity, but Alex Solis took it all in stride after becoming only the 29th rider in history to register 5,000 wins.
What would one expect from a jockey who has been riding for nearly three-and-a-half decades and who after the umpteenth time on the ballot, was finally elected to racing’s Hall of Fame last April.
Alex Solis is a man of patience who has not forgotten his roots.
“The win was very special,” said Solis Friday morning, less than 24 hours after the native Panamanian rode 19-1 outsider Lutine Belle to a 1 ¼-length victory in the Blue Norther Stakes, a race offering more than one story line.
Not only is the 3-year-old filly owned in part by Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Solis’ son, bloodstock agent Alex II, owns a piece, too. It was fitting as well that Solis should win his 5,000th on the big stage at Santa Anita, where he had previously ridden 1,354 winners, placing him sixth all-time at The Great Race Place.
“I’m honored to have saddled the horse for Alex’s 5,000th win,” said Hollendorfer, who himself is approaching 6,800 career victories.
“I’m very grateful for everything I have,” said Solis, who turns 51 on March 26. “Every day I get up, I know what I’ve come from and I never forget that. Inside of me, I’m tickled to death and very, very happy.
“I grew up in a very poor environment. That’s why I love to go back and visit in Panama, to keep myself grounded. For the life that I have lived, I feel very, very fortunate. I’m grateful to the horses and their owners and trainers for the opportunity they’ve given me.
“Thanks to them, I’m here. I really mean it.”