Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - Brazilian jockey Jorge Ricardo rode his 12,844th win at Rio de Janeiro's Hipodromo race track Monday, equalling the extraordinary world record held by his career-long Canadian rival.
Ricardo, a grizzled 56, cried and raised his fist aloft after coming first past the post -- and level with the record of California-based Russell Baze.
The two jockeys on two continents have racked up more wins than any other jockey in the world and for years they traded number one spot.
This was a relentless, slow motion duel with few equivalents in any sport.
But when Baze retired ahead in 2016, that left the door open to Ricardo to claim definitive victory, provided his ageing body could keep taking the brutal knocks involved in racing thoroughbred horses.
Late Monday, he finally got there in his sixth race, prompting a small riot of well-wishers, family and journalists around the sweat- and rain-streaked winning horse Jubileia.
Ricardo, who is based in neighboring Argentina, said he will seek the record-breaking ride back there, to please his Argentinian fans.
However, for a man who barely takes holidays, riding incessantly, getting one more win is all but a formality. The real challenge is already over.
"I waited long for this and finally I got it," he said through tears.
Given that Ricardo and Blaze are the only jockeys in the world even to have reached 10,000 wins, it seems unlikely that anyone will take over for years to come.
Asked if he would now stop -- something his family told AFP they wish he'd do -- Ricardo grinned. "It hasn't entered my head to stop yet."