Jockey Junior Alvarado earned his 1,000th career victory in North America, winning the fourth race at Saratoga Race Course on Monday aboard Skerkis.
The 2-year-old colt drew off in the stretch to capture the $50,000 maiden claiming event by eight lengths over Banker’s Boss.
Making his third lifetime start, Skerkis paid $11.80, $6.10 and $4.30 as the 9-2 fourth choice in a field of seven 2-year-olds.
“He was pretty sharp,” said Alvarado. “Then I kind of sat down on him. When I started asking, he didn’t respond very well, but as I started going with the whip, he kind of turned into another horse. He was responding pretty well.
“As soon as I turned for him and hit him a couple of times, he responded right away, and I said, ‘We’re going to get it now!’ I’ve got to keep riding and winning; that’s how I’m celebrating.”
Skerkis is trained by Ken McPeek for Sylly Horses Stable.
Earlier in the meet, Alvarado, 28, picked up the biggest win of his career when he guided Moreno to a front-running score in the $1.5 million Whitney on Aug. 2. He currently is eighth in the Saratoga jockey standings with 15 victories.
“It always comes when I least expect it. I’ve been [on 999] since Friday with a lot of good mounts, good horses, expecting this one will be the one,” said Alvarado. “It seems like it was forever. I couldn’t get it done Saturday. Yesterday, I got a good chance and I couldn’t either. I wasn’t expecting it at all with this one, but that’s how it worked out.”
Alvarado began his career in his native Venezuela in 2005, and rode his first winner in the United States in February 2007.
Makari fell after clipping the final fence and died on the track during the Grade I $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup.
New York Racing Association veterinarian Dr. Anthony Verderosa said the horse died from neck trauma. Jockey Jack Doyle was uninjured.
Demonstrative took the lead after the final fence and held off Barnstorming to win the race. Demonstrative lost by a nose to Makari in the A.P. Smithwick Memorial on July 31 at Saratoga.
The New York Turf Writers was run in memory of trainer Tom Voss, who died in January. Carrying on his stable is his daughter, Elizabeth Voss Murray, who collected her first graded stakes victory with Makari in the Smithwick,
Ridden by Robert Walsh, Demonstrative ran 2 3⁄8 miles in 4:34.78 and paid $6.60, $4.10 and $4.10. Barnstorming returned $5 and $5.60 for second, with defending Turf Writers Cup winner Italian Wedding in third.