John R. Velazquez

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John Velazquez
File:John Velazquez 2016 Pimlico.jpg
John Velazquez
Occupation Jockey
Born November 24, 1971
Carolina, Puerto Rico
Career wins 5,482 As of 23 March 2016 [1]
Major racing wins
Ohio Derby
Jamaica Handicap
(1994, 1998, 2002)
Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Handicap
(1995, 2004, 2005)
Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (1995)
Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap (1995, 2005)
Alabama Stakes (1996, 2003)
Beldame Stakes (1996, 2005)
Champagne Stakes (1996, 2004, 2006, 2010)
Futurity Stakes (1996, 1998, 2006)
Metropolitan Handicap (1996, 1999, 2010, 2012, 2014)
Mother Goose Stakes (1996, 2001)
Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (1998, 2006)
Sanford Stakes
(1999, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007)
Maker's Mark Mile Stakes (1999)
Vagrancy Handicap
(1999, 2001, 2004, 2005)
Acorn Stakes (2000)
Ashland Stakes (2001)
Ladies Handicap (2001)
Lawrence Realization Stakes (2001, 2002)
Remsen Stakes (2001, 2005)
Vosburgh Stakes (2001, 2006)
Dwyer Stakes (2002, 2003)
Frizette Stakes (2002, 2005)
Matron Stakes (2002)
Personal Ensign Handicap (2002, 2004)
Suburban Handicap (2002)
Whitney Handicap (2002, 2007, 2008, 2013)
Saranac Handicap (2003)
Kentucky Oaks (2004)
Sabin Stakes (2004, 2005)
Appalachian Stakes (2005, 2007, 2008)
Blue Grass Stakes (2005)
Brooklyn Handicap (2005)
Clark Handicap (2005)
Travers Stakes (2005)
Louisiana Derby (2007)
Orchid Handicap (2005, 2006, 2008)
Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap (2005)
Fountain of Youth Stakes (2007)
Beaugay Handicap (2008)
Prioress Stakes (2008)
Test Stakes (1996, 1999, 2008)
La Brea Stakes (2008)
Massachusetts Handicap (2000, 2008)
Richter Scale Sprint Handicap (2007, 2008)
Old Hat Stakes (2005, 2008, 2009)
Florida Derby (2009, 2015)

American Classic Race & Breeders' Cup wins:
Belmont Stakes (2007, 2012)
Breeders' Cup Mile (1998, 2012)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (2000, 2002)
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (2002, 2011)
Breeders' Cup Distaff (2004)
Breeders' Cup Sprint (2004)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (2010)
Breeders' Cup Marathon (2010)
Kentucky Derby (2011)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (2011)

International race wins:
Woodbine Mile (2000, 2005, 2012, 2013)
E. P. Taylor Stakes (2004, 2005)
Dubai World Cup (2005)
Queen Mary Stakes (2009)
Windsor Castle Stakes (2009)
Racing awards
United States Champion Jockey by earnings
(2004, 2005)
Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey
(2004, 2005)
George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award (2009)
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (2011)
Significant horses
Da Hoss, Storm Flag Flying, Lemon Drop Kid, Ashado, Kitten's Joy, Flower Alley, Lawyer Ron, Roses in May, Bluegrass Cat, Circular Quay, Scat Daddy, Rags to Riches, Commentator, Indian Blessing, Uncle Mo, Animal Kingdom, Wise Dan

John R. Velazquez (born November 24, 1971, in Carolina, Puerto Rico) is a jockey in Thoroughbred horse racing. Admitted to the Horse Racing Hall of fame in 2012, as of 2014, he is the all-time leading money-earning jockey in North America.[2]

He learned to ride in his native Puerto Rico. On January 3, 1990, he won his first race, aboard Rodas at El Nuevo Comandante racetrack in Canóvanas, Puerto Rico. That same year, under the guidance of agent and former jockey, Angel Cordero, Jr., he moved to New York State where he has earned 24 riding titles at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course.

A winner of multiple Breeders' Cup races, he has also won graded stakes races such as the Kentucky Oaks, Blue Grass Stakes, Dubai World Cup, E. P. Taylor Stakes (twice), Whitney Handicap, Woodbine Mile, plus the Cigar Mile Handicap. To date in his career, John Velazquez has ridden more than 5,000 winners. In 2004 and 2005 he was the United States Champion Jockey by earnings and was voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2004 and 2005.[3]

In 2004, he won the Bill Shoemaker Award for top Breeders' Cup performance by a jockey, winning the Breeders' Cup Distaff with Ashado and the Breeders' Cup Sprint with Speightstown.

Velazquez set a Saratoga record with six wins in one card on September 3, 2001.[4]

In 2006, he was elected to the Puerto Rico Horse Racing Hall of Fame.[5]

In 2009, Velazquez, known at tracks as "Johnny V," was awarded the Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. That same year, he led Quality Road to a win at the Florida Derby, knocking off the previously unbeaten Dunkirk in the process. Ironically, he rode Dunkirk to his second-place finish in the Grade l Belmont Stakes.[6]

In October 13, 2013, Velazquez became the all-time leading money winner among North American jockeys, surpassing Pat Day in the ninth race at Belmont, aboard the filly Bit Bustin. After that race, his earnings reached $297,922,320 in career purses.[7] The next year, Velazquez became the all-time leading money winner in the history of jockeying and the first whose earnings surpass $300 million.[8]

2007 Belmont Stakes

In the 2007 Belmont Stakes, Velazquez earned his first win in a Triple Crown race when he rode Rags to Riches to a victory that made her the first filly to win the race since 1905.

2011 and Animal Kingdom

On May 7, 2011, Velazquez won his first Kentucky Derby, riding Animal Kingdom. Velazquez was supposed to ride Uncle Mo, but his horse was removed from the race due to stomach problems. Then, due to an injury to Robby Albarado, Animal Kingdom's regular rider, Velazquez took up the reins, ending up in first place.[9]

Velázquez rode Animal Kingdom again at the 136th Preakness Stakes and almost repeated the Kentucky Derby feat, coming from behind. However, Animal Kingdom finished second to Shackleford. Velázquez said about the loss, "It's a tough one. It's a real tough one ... I thought this horse had a really good chance to make it. Things didn't go our way today. He ran great, but he didn't quite get there."[10]


File:Union Rags.jpg
Winning the Belmont on Union Rags

In the 144th running of the Belmont Stakes, Velazquez won again aboard Union Rags.[11]

Later in the year, he won the 2012 Breeders' Cup Mile on the gelding Wise Dan. The horse went on to become a two-time American Horse of the Year in 2012 and 2013 with Velazquez as his regular rider.

In 2012, John Velazquez was inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.[12]

Velazquez on Untapable, 2015


John Velazquez married Leona O'Brien, the daughter of trainer Leo O'Brien. Residing in New York, they have two children, a daughter, Lerina, and a son, Michael Patrick.[13]

File:Wise Dan and Velazquez 2012 04.png
Velazquez and Wise Dan in the winners' circle after the 2012 Breeders' Cup Mile

Year-end charts

Chart (2000–present) Peak
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2000 10
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2001 2
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2002 3
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2003 3
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2004 1
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2005 1
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2006 4
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2007 3
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2008 7
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2009 6
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2010 3
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2011 2
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2012 3
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2013 3
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2014 4
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2015 3


  3. McGee, Marty. "35th Annual Eclipse Awards". Daily Racing Form, January 23, 2006. Retrieved on May 4, 2013.
  4. USA Today. "Velazquez rides record six winners at Saratoga". Associated Press, September 3, 2001. Retrieved on May 4, 2013.
  5. "Annuary of the Puerto Rico Horse Racing Hall of Fame for the year 2006
  6. Record Victory in Dubai in World's Richest Race,, 28 March 2009, accessed 29 March 2008.
  7. Velazquez Becomes Top Money-Earning Rider,, 13 October 2013, accessed 14 October 2013.
  8. Erick Rodríguez (March 22, 2014). "El jinete boricua John Velázquez hace historia". El Nuevo Día. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Animal Kingdom wins 137th Kentucky Derby on Sporting News (May 7, 2011)
  10. Shackleford edges Animal Kingdom in Preakness on SFGate; Wilkin, Tim (May 22, 2011)
  11. "John Velazquez". Retrieved 2012-06-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. ESPN - April 23, 2012
  13. Springstead, Will. "Life of a jockey's wife not always glamorous". The Post-Star (Glens Falls, N.Y.), August 23, 2010. Retrieved on June 1, 2013.

External links