John Velazquez
Jockey Bios

John Velazquez

Born: November 24, 1971 in Carolina, Puerto Rico

Record at Keeneland

Total Wins: 194

Stakes Wins: 49

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 on Rodas

Starters in the Toyota Blue Grass


Year

Horse

Finish

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


Sixth-leading jockey by stakes victories (49).

During the 2017 Fall Meet, won the Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3) on Apple Betty (IRE). During the 2017 Spring Meet, won the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3) on Unbridled Mo and Giant's Causeway (L) on Lady Aurelia.

During the 2016 Fall Meet, rode Time and Motion to win the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane's End (G1).

On Oct. 30, 2015, during the undercard of the first day of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, rode Race Day to win the Hagyard Fayette (G2).

Won two stakes during the 2015 Spring Meet: Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on Carpe Diem and Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3) on Deceptive Vision.

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 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.

Career


All-time leading North American rider by career earnings with more than $379 million through January 30, 2018, with 5,859 wins.

Inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2012.

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

Triple Crown wins (4): Kentucky Derby (G1) in 2011 on Animal Kingdom and 2017 on Always Dreaming: Belmont (G1) in 2007 on the filly Rags to Riches and 2012 on Union Rags.

Breeders’ Cup wins (14): 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.

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. 

2017 earnings were $20,780,733 with 206 wins, including the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) aboard Always Dreaming; Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) with World Approval; and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) with Forever Unbridled.

2016 earnings were $18,597,526 with 196 wins, including Grade 1 wins in Keeneland’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End along with the Ballerina, Wood Memorial, Apple Blossom, Jockey Club Gold Cup, La Troienne and Donn. 

2015 earnings were $20,394,627 with 193 wins, including Grade 1 triumphs in the Florida Derby (Materiality), Apple Blossom (Untapable), Acorn and Coaching Club American Oaks (Curalina), Diana (Hard Not to Like), Ballerina (Unbridled Forever), Spinaway (Rachel’s Valentina), and Jockey Club Gold Cup and Cigar Mile (Tonalist).

2014 earnings of $19,486,658 with 166 wins, including the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) on Palace Malice.

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.

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 in New York and Florida.

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.

Chairman of the board of the Jockeys’ Guild. Board member of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

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 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.