Mike Trombetta
Trainer Mike Trombetta celebrates his 2,000th win, which came at Laurel Park. Photo Jim McCue.

R. Larry Johnson’s homebred 2-year-old colt Mr Jefferson slipped through an opening along the rail in mid-stretch and outran stablemate Bold Leader to give trainer Mike Trombetta his 2,000th career victory in Thursday’s featured eighth race at Laurel Park.

Ridden by Mychel Sanchez, Mr Jefferson ($14.20) completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.43 over a fast main track to win the optional claiming allowance for juveniles by 1 ½ lengths. Street Hustle was third with pacesetting 3-5 favorite Mr. Mox fourth.

“It’s really, really cool,” Trombetta said. “I didn’t expect to be one-two in the race, by any means. I was hoping just to hit the board, honestly, but it was nice to get this kind of result.”

Trombetta, who turned 55 last week, is the second Maryland-based trainer to reach a career milestone at Laurel this fall. Claudio Gonzalez, the state’s annual leading trainer since 2017, earned his 1,000th win with He’s a Shooter Oct. 14.

A Baltimore native who maintains strings at both Laurel and the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., Trombetta had 1,993 wins heading into the month of October. He earned No. 1,999 with Conclusive Oct. 31 at Laurel and was off the board with his only other starter Thursday, U S Constitution, in Race 5.

“I was hoping it’d happen this year, by the way things were going,” Trombetta joked. “It’s all good.”

Mr Jefferson, by Constitution, was making his fourth career start and first with blinkers. He has won both of his dirt starts, having broken his maiden Aug. 25 at Colonial Downs, and finished out of the money in a pair of turf starts.

Perennially one of the top trainers in Maryland who is also a player on the national stage, Trombetta has topped $1 million in purse earnings every year since 2005 and at least $3 million since 2007, with a career bankroll of more than $68.4 million.

Introduced to horses through his father, Trombetta began walking hots as a teenager and steadily worked his way up the ladder to becoming a trainer.

The MTHA Trainer of the Year in 2005, Trombetta burst on the national scene with Sweetnorthernsaint, an ex-claimer turned Grade 2 winner who went off as the Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite in 2006 and ran second to champion Bernardini in the Preakness (G1). Among his local stakes wins were the 2006 Miracle Wood and 2007 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial at Laurel.

Trombetta won Laurel’s 2019 spring stand and shared the 2015 winter meet title with Claudio Gonzalez, to whom he has finished second in annual Maryland wins each of the past two years. He also ranks among the all-time leading trainers in Maryland Million history with nine wins.

On Friday, Trombetta has three horses entered in two of nine races at Laurel as well as a pair of stakes out of town – Biz Biz Buzz in the Atlantic Beach at Belmont Park and Can’t Buy Love in the Cellars Shiraz at Gulfstream Park.

“I have a horse in the stake in New York tomorrow we’re real excited about. He broke his maiden here,” Trombetta said. “Maybe we can get started with 2,001 tomorrow.”