John Velazquez

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    John Velazquez
    record at keeneland
    total wins:176
    stakes wins:44
    First Grade 1 Win:
    1995 Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park on Turk Passer.
    First Stakes Win:
    1990 Ticonderoga at Aqueduct on Proud n' Appeal.
    First Graded Stakes Win:
    1991 Ohio Derby (G2) at Thistledown on Private Man.
    First Career Win:
    1990 at El Comandante Racetrack on Rodas.
    November 24, 1971 in Carolina, Puerto Rico

    At Keeneland (through Spring 2015):

    • Fifth on the list of leading jockeys by stakes victories (44).
    • Won two Grade 1 stakes during the 2014 Spring Meet: Maker's 46 Mile on Wise Dan and Madison on Judy the Beauty. On Oct. 4 during the 2014 Fall Meet, he won five races, including three Grade 1 races: Shadwell Turf Mile on Wise Dan, Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity on Carpe Diem and First Lady on Dayatthespa. Won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Lane’s End a week later with Crown Queen.
    • Won two stakes during the 2015 Spring Meet: Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on Carpe Diem and Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3) on Deceptive Vision.
    • Won the 2013 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) on We Miss Artie, Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) on Judy the Beauty and Transylvania (G3) on Jack Milton.
    • Leading rider during the 2005 Spring Meet with 21 wins.
    • First Keeneland win came during the 1994 Fall Meet when he scored his first stakes win here in the Hopemont on Claudius.
    • Won 2005 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on Bandini.

    Starters in the Toyota Blue Grass (G1):




    2015  Carpe Diem Won


     Gala Award









    Join in the Dance



    Cowboy Cal



    Bluegrass Cat






    Invisible Ink



    More Than Ready



    Lemon Drop Kid




    • Inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2012.
    • North America’s all-time leading rider by earnings with more than $324 million as of May 4, 2015. Has 5,308 career wins.
    • Two-time Eclipse Award winner as outstanding jockey – 2004 and 2005 – when he was North America’s leading rider by earnings.
    • Triple Crown wins (3): 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1) on Animal Kingdom; Belmont (G1) in 2007 on the filly Rags to Riches and 2012 on Union Rags.
    • Breeders’ Cup wins (13): 2014 Turf (G1) on Main Sequence; 2012 Mile (G1) on Wise Dan; 2011 Filly and Mare Turf (G1) on Perfect Shirl and 2011 Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) on Stephanie’s Kitten; 2010 Juvenile (G1) on Uncle Mo and 2010 Marathon (G2) on Eldaafer; 2007 Turf (G1) on English Channel; 2004 Distaff (G1) on Ashado and 2004 Sprint (G1) on Speightstown; 2002 Filly and Mare Turf (G1) on Starine (FR) and 2002 Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Storm Flag Flying; 2000 Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Caressing; 1998 Mile (G1) on Da Hoss.
    • 2014 earnings of $19,486,658 were fourth among leading North American riders. 166 wins included the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) on Palace Malice.
    • Won the 2014 Mike Venezia Memorial Award following a vote of fans on The award recognizes jockeys who display the sportsmanship and citizenship that defined Venezia.
    • 2013 North American earnings were $19,364,851 to rank third. Other Grade 1 wins were the Gulfstream Park Turf and Manhattan handicaps (Point of Entry), Florida Derby (Orb), Wood Memorial and Haskell Invitational (Verrazano), Just a Game (Stephanie’s Kitten), Man o’ War (Boisterous), Whitney Invitational (Cross Traffic), Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (Justin Phillip), Woodward (Alpha), Garden City (Alterite [FR]) and Woodbine Mile (Wise Dan).
    • Became North America’s all-time leading money-earning rider on Oct. 13, 2013, at Belmont Park, surpassing Pat Day’s previous record of $297,914,839 held since 2005.
    • Became the all-time winningest rider at Saratoga on July 27, 2013, with his 694th victory, aboard Unitarian in the fourth race.
    • Won his 5,000th race on June 14, 2013, at Belmont Park aboard Galloping Giraffe in the sixth race.
    • Won the Bill Shoemaker Award in 2004, 2011 and 2014 as outstanding jockey of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
    • Won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2009.
    • Holds numerous titles as leading rider. Five-time leader at Saratoga – 1998, 2003, 2004, 2010 and 2011; Gulfstream (2006). Won or shared 26 meet titles in New York.
    • Won 4,000th race on Sept. 28, 2008, at Belmont Park aboard Rogue Agent; won his 3,000th race at Saratoga on July 29, 2004, aboard Runingforpresident, coinciding with John Velazquez Bobblehead Doll Day at the track.
    • Current chairman of the board of the Jockeys’ Guild. On the board of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.


    In June 1988 John entered the jockey school in Puerto Rico. He kicked off his riding career shortly after and scored his first victory at El Comandante Racetrack in 1990 aboard Rodas. He relocated to New York in March 1990 with Racing Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero Jr.’s guidance. Cordero has acted as his agent since 1998.

    John won first two Grade 1 races of his career in 1995 and the following spring won his first riding title, at Aqueduct. He was the regular rider of Yanks Music, champion 3-year-old filly of 1996, who was trained by his father-in-law, Leo O’Brien.

    He is chairman of the board of the Jockeys’ Guild and is on the board of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.



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