He was the victim of bad luck Monday (shuffled out of the last race) and bad weather Tuesday (Mother Nature snowed on his parade), but Jason Bartlett completed his appointed rounds Thursday night.
Bartlett, a Yonkers Raceway mainstay since migrating from Maine a few seasons ago, drove his 5,000th career winner. He hit the number with solid, two-move effort from Box Car Johnnie ($8) in the $12,000, sixth-race pace. The 8-year-old Western Paradise gelding defeated odds-on favorite Pembroke Alec Bush (George Brennan) by a length-and-a-half in 1:53.
The 32-year-old Bartlett, a native of Augusta, Maine, entered the evening needing one scant victory to round up the odometer.
Bartlett has three consecutive (2008-10) local driving titles on his resume, which also includes a pair of Yonkers' stakes wins...the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (Foiled Again, 2010) and Messenger Stakes (2013, Ronny Bugatti). He also represented the U. S. twice in the World Driving Championship.
Bartlett, who drove his first winner for his grandfather, Richard, at the Windsor (Maine) Fair in 1998, is closing on $54 million in career purses. The Bartletts--Jason, wife Kristen, and sons Kobe and Karter---were presented with a congratulatory sign after his latest accomplishment.
"As I said before, I've never been much of a numbers guy, but 5,000 is a lot," Bartlett said. "I always appreciate the owners and trainers giving me the opportunities, and really, you just go out and do your best every night.
"It was special doing it for (trainer) Alicia Gray, since she and her husband, Shawn, are also from Maine and I've had a lot of success driving for them." (Yonkers)