J. D. Acosta reaches 3,500 wins

J. D. Acosta in 2016.

Acadian Girl was the easiest kind of winner in the fourth race Thursday at Laurel Park, leading every step of the way and pulling away to win by eight lengths in the $12,500 claimer.

Which was pretty appropriate considering that the win gave jockey J. D. Acosta – known particularly as an accomplished gate rider – 3,500 victories in his career.

Acosta, 40, has won 3,500 races from just over 22,400 starters. His mounts have earned nearly $75 million. Three of those wins have come aboard Acadian Girl, who is trained by Mike Geralis for Mark Lapidus.

A native of Puerto Rico, Acosta arrived in the U.S. in 2002 and quickly established himself, winning 200 races that first year while generating more than $2.8 million in purse earnings. That kicked off a streak of 15 consecutive seasons in which he won at least 100 races.

Acosta finished in the top 10 by wins nationally in four consecutive years, from 2008 through 2011. In 2008 he won a career-best 322 races to finish third nationally in wins.

He has topped $1 million in purse earnings every season of his career with 2008 his best year in this regard, as well. With the 322 victories, his horses earned more than $6 million that season.

And he’s still going strong. Acosta is coming off his most lucrative year since 2014. In 2021 he won 129 races and posted over $4.4 million in purse earnings.

Acosta has won four graded stakes in his career. The first of those came in 2009 when he piloted No Advantage to a win in the Grade 3 William Donald Schaefer Stakes at Pimlico; and the most recent came aboard Lady T. N. T. in the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks in 2019.

His winningest horse to date was the Chris Grove-trained Sweet Goodbye. The duo teamed up to earn nearly $700,000, including a score in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie in 2010.

Acosta’s success has come about in part because of his willingness to ride everywhere. He made his name first for his success at Charles Town, while he’s enjoyed his biggest wins in Maryland. In the week between Feb. 9 and Feb. 16, Acosta will end up riding at Laurel, Charles Town, Penn National, and Parx Racing.