It was appropriate that Kevin Cummings reached 3,000 driving wins in his career when he steered Most Happy Rider ($10.60) to a narrow neck decision in Buffalo Raceway's seventh race on Friday night (February 6).
Cummings became just that, a 'most happy rider' after sweating out the photo finish before officially being awarded the milestone victory.
"I didn't think I won it at the wire," a relieved Cummings said after the win. "I didn't think the photo [at the wire] did the finish justice. I thought it was a lot closer. [Second-place finisher] Ideal Rowan was getting to me and had the momentum."
Cummings scored his 2,999th victory in the fourth race aboard Camstar ($3.20) but came up empty in his next two attempts. The third time became the charm as he went gate-to-wire with Most Happy Rider, who is trained by his brother Anthony Cummings and owned by Sidney Easton. They covered the mile in 1:59.1.
"I just wanted to get it over with," Cummings said after missing on two tries to reach the 3,000-win plateau. He added, "It's a big accomplishment for me. It just isn't a number." He finished the night with a triple.
Cummings started his racing career in 1989 where he won three races in his 15 starts and had earnings of just $4,438. His initial victory was Orlando Otto.
However, things skyrocketed after the calendar year turned to 2000. He had 132 victories that year and then reached the 200-win mark for the first time in 2005 with 209 victories.
Cummings then cracked the $1 million barrier in 2009 for the first time when he posted 265 wins with $1,189,102 in earnings. He's reached the million dollar mark every season since.
But the best was yet to come. His best campaign came in 2014 when Cummings won both the Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway driving titles thanks to a career-highs of 334 victories and $1,554,990 in earnings. It was the first time ever he won both crowns in the same year.
Over the span from 2009 until now, Cummings has amassed 1,477 victories and well over $7 million in earnings.
The way the 44-year-old Cummings is driving, it shouldn't take too long to reach the 4,000-win mark.