James Graham wins 3,000

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James Graham hits 3,000 wins Sunday at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography.

Congratulations to jockey James Graham for winning his 3,000th career race this weekend. The Irish native guided Vortex to win at Fair Grounds Sunday.

“It’s quite emotional actually. I came here in 2002 and all I ever wanted was a shot,” Graham said. “I wish my mum was still alive to see this. Thank you to everybody who has ever put me on a winner throughout my whole career. This is all because of you guys. Thank you to my wife. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am. Fair Grounds has been good to me over the years. I’ve made a lot of friends and lost a lot of friends. Racing is a life, and we are all a big family. Thank you to everybody.”

Graham has done it the hard way. Day in. Day out. Year in. Year out. The 44-year-old jockey won at least 100 races every season from 2004 to 2022.

Listen to In the Room with James Graham, an interview I did with him in 2021.

Here’s a taste of what he said during the segment.

“It’s important to ride for fifth…that was instilled in me. Keep trying. Always keep trying,” Graham said. “I’ve always wanted to be the best I can be, maybe that’s not up there with Johnny Velazquez but we’ll give them a run for their money. I’m always going to try whether it’s five thousand claimer or grade 1 race. I’m in this for the horse. I’m a 110 percent guy, 365. When it’s leap year it’s 366. That’s who I am, I love my work.”