Antonio Gallardo didn’t throw in the towel after getting passed in deep stretch aboard 5-year-old mare Do What It Takes in today’s fourth race at Tampa Bay Downs.
The jockey’s perseverance paid off in career victory No. 2,000, as Do What It Takes rallied on the inside to post a nose victory from Exceed the Goal in the 7-furlong claiming race for older fillies and mares.
The 33-year-old Gallardo, who has won five riding championships at Tampa Bay Downs, received enthusiastic applause from spectators after his No. 5 was posted on the tote board.
“I love it,” Gallardo said, moments after being joined by his wife Polliana and their two children for photographs in the winner’s circle. “(Exceed the Goal) blew past us, but I could see her ears were back and she was stopping. I said to myself ‘I think I can get it,’ and thank God my horse gave me a little bit more and got to the wire first.”
Do What It Takes is owned by Carole Star Stables and trained by Jose H. Delgado.
It was the 45th victory of the meeting for Gallardo, who trails only Samy Camacho in the 2020-2021 Oldsmar standings.
Gallardo, a product of Jerez de la Frontera in Cadiz, Spain, has won 837 races at Tampa Bay Downs. Only Daniel Centeno and Mike Manganello, with six apiece, have won more meeting titles here.
“Tampa is home for me. It’s given me so much, and you feel great doing something like this at home,” Gallardo said. “I have to thank my family, all my agents, the trainers and owners and the fans who have supported me. This is something I never thought of doing when I first came to the United States.
“I just have to keep going.”
Gallardo also touched base with his parents in Spain, Paqui and Antonio, through FaceTime on Polliana’s phone in the winner’s circle. Children Carlos, 12, and Christa, who turns 7 next week, gave Dad a poster sign of congratulations they made at home.
Gallardo, who is the track’s single-season record holder with 147 winners, set during the 2014-2015 meeting, has also won four riding championships at Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa. The jockey has won nine graded stakes, topped by his victory in the Grade I United Nations Stakes on the grass at Monmouth Park in 2018 on Funtastic, owned by Three Chimneys Farm and trained by Chad Brown. Gallardo won back-to-back editions of the Grade II Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes on Hotshot Anna in 2018 and 2019.
Gallardo’s career in the United States started slowly, with only seven winners from 175 mounts in 2009. By 2014, he was in full flight, riding 268 winners. He finished second in North America with 320 winners in 2015 and was second in 2016 with 332.
Gallardo has won five races on a single card at Tampa Bay Downs a record six times. Only Richard DePass, with seven in 1980, and Edwin Gonzalez, with six in 2017, have won more races on a single Oldsmar card.
Gallardo is one of 11 active Oldsmar jockeys with 2,000 or more victories. The others are Scott Spieth, 4,880; Jose Ferrer, 4,533; Ronnie Allen, Jr., 3,819; Daniel Centeno, 3,016; Roberto Alvarado, Jr., 2,750; Jesus Castanon, 2,610; Ricardo Feliciano, 2,288; Dean Butler, 2,287; Mike Allen, 2,099; and Huber Villa-Gomez, 2,083.