Jockey Martin Pedroza is rapidly approaching a personal milestone of 3,000 career victories with 519 of those winners coming at Fairplex Park.
And it is very possible that when the 43-year-old native of Panama does achieve his lofty goal, it will be at Fairplex Park, which opens for a 16-day meet on Sept. 5 and runs through Sept. 22. Tuesdays are dark. The race meet is presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino.
Pedroza's 519 Pomona triumphs tops the Fairplex record books with jockey David Flores his nearest pursuer at 324 winners.
For more than two decades Pedroza has been plying his trade over Pomona's tricky, hairpin turns. He has become the master of the five-eighths mile oval, and knows every nook and cranny of the conventional dirt surface.
Pedroza won his first Fairplex riding title in 1989, ending up in a three-way tie with Corey Black and Flores. The combination of Pedroza and his long-time agent Richie Silverstein have dedicated their energies each summer to making Pedroza "King of the Bullring."
To that end Pedroza has become the dominant rider in a highly competitive jockey colony which includes Flores, Tyler Baze, Joel Rosario, Martin Garcia, Michael Baze, Brice Blanc, Alonso Quinonez, Aaron Gryder, Jose Valdivia and Joe Talamo.
Pedroza captured the Fairplex jockey championship in 1999 and hasn't lost since, reeling off nine consecutive riding titles, and 10 overall. His most proficient season came in 2004 when Pedroza visited the charmed circle 51 times in only 17 days for a three-a-day average. That season, his mounts earned more than $1 million in purses.
Last year a rejuvenated Tyler Baze tried to unseat Pedroza in the jockey's race, but fell short, 35-31, in a terrific see-saw battle that went down to the final weekend of racing.
Pedroza, who currently resides in the "Top 10" at Del Mar, will have several opportunities to reach his personal plateau at the beach track before Fairplex opens, but with 2,993 victories as of Aug. 19 the countdown is underway.