Jockey Dylan Davis notches 1000th career victory

by Mary Eddy

Dylan Davis reached 1,000 career victories with a stylish late-rallying finish aboard Heels Together in Race 5 on Friday at Belmont Park. Davis guided the Christophe Clement-trained filly from off the pace to break her maiden by two lengths over the main track. 

“It feels great. Obviously, I couldn’t have done this without the horses, my agent Mike Migliore and my supporters – countless trainers and owners to get me here,” Davis said. “It feels really special. I love doing this and I love the game. 

“I wasn’t really keeping track of the number I was at,” Davis added, with a laugh. “Mike kept telling me I was getting closer and closer and I just keep doing what I’m doing.”

Davis executed a patient ride aboard Heels Together in the $40,000 maiden claimer, settling in fifth-of-eight down the backstretch before swinging her five-wide in the turn and giving a strong ride down the stretch to pick off rivals and complete the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:20.50 over the fast main track. Heels Together, a 4-year-old Hard Spun bay owned by Hoolie Racing Stable, paid $8.90 for a $2 win ticket.

Davis, a 27-year-old native of Manhasset, N.Y., teamed up with Clement to earn another milestone when guiding Mutamakina to victory in the 2021 E.P. Taylor at Woodbine to secure the first Grade 1 win of his career.

“Christophe is a trainer that really pushed me along through the tougher circuit here,” Davis said. “He gave me a lot of opportunities. What I needed is someone with the support like him to help get the job done.”

The son of accomplished jockey and current NYRA circuit trainer Robbie Davis, Dylan Davis began his riding career in 2012 at Saratoga Race Course and guided his first winner, Soldier Sam, to victory in a claiming race in September of that year at Suffolk Downs. His first stakes win came aboard Henny Jenney in the Inaugural on May 11, 2014 at Presque Isle Downs just two weeks before piloting Tell All You Know to a stakes coup in the Honor the Hero at Canterbury Park. 

Davis celebrated a breakout year in 2018, earning a trio of Grade 3 victories in the Soaring Softly aboard Nootka Sound for his first career graded win, the Toboggan aboard Great Stuff and the Westchester on Tale of Silence. He earned nine other stakes victories that year, all of them at NYRA tracks. 

He recorded a record year in 2021 for earnings [$9,493,444] when he visited the winner’s circle 130 times from 927 starts. Davis’ Grade 1 triumph aboard Mutamakina in the E.P. Taylor came that October with a stalking trip and a well-timed ride to take the lead and hold off the late-charging La Dragontea by a neck for Clement. Davis also earned two other graded wins aboard Mutamakina in 2021, taking the Grade 2 Dance Smartly at Woodbine and a repeat win in the Grade 3 Long Island at Belmont. 

This year, Davis earned his first riding title when he posted 63 wins at the 2021-22 Aqueduct winter meet, finishing nine wins the better of Trevor McCarthy. The meet included three four-win days for Davis and victories in six stakes races for total purse earnings of $3,411,574. 

Other graded stakes wins at NYRA for Davis include the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap [Pat On the Back, 2019], the Grade 3 Withers [Max Player, 2020], the Grade 3 Futurity [Second of July, 2020], the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Handicap [Gibberish, 2021], and the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap [2022, Glass Ceiling].

Davis said Pat On the Back and Mutamakina stand out among his 1,000 winners. 

“Pat On the Back was my first special horse and following him, Mutamakina,” Davis said. “The horses always give me 100 percent. Every horse is meaningful because every horse tries their best and runs their heart out. I’m thankful for every horse.”