John Velazquez
Jockey Bios

John Velazquez

Born: November 24, 1971 in Carolina, Puerto Rico

Record at Keeneland

Total Wins: 225

Stakes Wins: 57

Career Firsts

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 in Puerto Rico on Rodas

Starters in the Toyota Blue Grass


Year

Horse

Finish

2020 Shivaree 11th
2015  Carpe Diem Won

2014

 Gala Award

6th

2011

Queen’splatekitten

7th

2010

Codoy

5th

2009

Join in the Dance

5th

2008

Cowboy Cal

2nd

2006

Bluegrass Cat

4th

2005

Bandini

Won

2001

Invisible Ink

4th

2000

More Than Ready

2nd

1999

Lemon Drop Kid

5th

At Keeneland


Third-leading jockey by stakes victories (57).

First Keeneland win/stakes win came during the 1994 Fall Meet when he won the Hopemont on Claudius.

Leading rider during the 2005 Spring Meet with 21 wins.

Two wins in the Toyota Blue Grass: Bandini (2005) and Carpe Diem (2015).

On Oct. 4, 2014, during the 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. The Shadwell Turf Mile was Keeneland's first million-dollar race. Also rode Keeneland favorite Wise Dan to win the 2014 Maker's 46 Mile (G1) that spring, 

Five wins in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1): Perfect Arc (1995), Alwajeeha (2008), Crown Queen (2014), Time and Motion (2016) and Cambier Parc (2019).

Has  additional Grade 1 wins on Fleet Rebee (2001 Ashland), Informed Decision (2009 Madison), Stephanie's Kitten (2011 Darley Alcibiades), In Lingerie (2012 Juddmonte Spinster), We Miss Artie (2013 Breeders' Futurity), Judy the Beauty (2014 Madison), Sistercharlie (IRE) (2018 Coolmore Jenny Wiley) and A Raving Beauty (GER) (2018 First Lady).

Career


Inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2012.

Recorded 6,000th North American win Nov. 30, 2018, at Aqueduct when he rode Singapore Trader to win the fifth race.

North American career record is 6,406 wins with earnings exceeding $451 million through May 26, 2022. He is North America's all-time leading rider by earnings. 

Two-time Eclipse Award winner as outstanding jockey – 2004 and 2005 – when he was North America’s leading rider by earnings.

Triple Crown wins (6): Kentucky Derby (G1) on Animal Kingdom (2011), Always Dreaming (2017), Authentic (2020) and Medina Spirit (2021); Belmont (G1) on the filly Rags to Riches (2017) and Union Rags (2012).

Breeders’ Cup wins (18): 1998 Mile on Da Hoss; 2000 Juvenile Fillies on Caressing; 2002 Filly and Mare Turf on Starine (FR) and Juvenile Fillies on Storm Flag Flying; 2004 Distaff on Ashado and Sprint on Speightstown; 2007 Turf on English Channel; 2010 Juvenile on Uncle Mo and Marathon on Eldaafer; 2011 Filly and Mare Turf on Perfect Shirl and Juvenile Fillies Turf on Stephanie’s Kitten; 2012 Mile on Wise Dan; 2014 Turf on Main Sequence; 2017 Mile on World Approval and Distaff on Forever Unbridled; 2018 Filly and Mare Turf on Sistercharlie (IRE); 2020 Classic on Authentic and Filly and Mare Sprint on Gamine.

Has three wins during the prestigious Royal Ascot meet in England on horses trained by Wesley Ward: 2009 Windsor Castle on Strike the Tiger, 2009 Queen Mary (G2) on Jealous Again and 2017 King's Stand (G1) on Lady Aurelia. 

Won the 2014 Mike Venezia Memorial Award following a vote of fans on NYRA.com. The award recognizes jockeys who display the sportsmanship and citizenship that defined Venezia.

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.

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.

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.

Click here for his Equibase career record.

 

Background


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 captured 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 and Mike Smith are Co-Chairmen of the Jockeys' Guild.