Crete, IL --- Driver Josh Sutton reached a career milestone on Saturday night (March 16) at Balmoral Park, piloting Peck Blue Chip to a thrilling neck victory in race seven, giving the 31-year-old reinsman his 2,000th career victory.
The Beecher, Ill., resident has been a regular on the Chicago circuit since 2005 after starting his journey in his native Kentucky.
|Balmoral Park photo|
|Members of the Balmoral Park driver's colony joined Josh Sutton in the winner's circle after the reinsman notched his 2,000th career victory.|
“When I first started driving in Kentucky we weren’t going for very much money at all,” said Sutton. “I was just worried about winning races and never really paid attention to the numbers that I was putting up.”
His biggest year to date came in 2009 when he piloted 332 winners while racking up a very respectable .281 UDR. Sutton followed that season up with 217 victories in 2010, 166 wins in 2011 and 157 trips to the winner’s circle in 2012. Sutton driven horses are nearing $12 million in purse earnings.
With less than four lengths separating the top six finishers in Sutton’s milestone win, the veteran seemed more relieved than anything else while celebrating in the winner’s circle.
“If I said I wasn’t thinking about it I would be lying,” he laughed. “This last one was the hardest after you told me I needed five more wins earlier this week. I knew there were a ton of horses coming hard behind us and I was just hoping that the wire was going to come up in time.”
Balmoral Park also played host to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation night on Saturday with an estimated $20,000 being raised for the charity, thanks in part to numerous donations, silent auctions and “head shavings.”
Driver John Roberts “stepped up to the plate” in a big way, not only by making a nice donation to the charity but also volunteering to have his head shaved in the winner’s circle by Tinley Park’s Jordan Pickering, a 14-year-old cancer survivor who was being honored as part of the proceedings.
After Jordan started the job she then moved on to her father who also wound up having his mustache shaved off thanks in part to another $100 donation by Roberts.