Birth Date: Wednesday, November 24, 1971
Birth Place: Carolina, Puerto Rico
2012-13 Gulfstream Record
Velazquez led all riders in money won during the 2012-2013 meet and captured Gulfstream's biggest and richest prize when he rode eventual Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Orb to victory in the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1). Velazquez also won the Fountain of Youth (G2) with Orb. Others stakes wins included the Skip Away (G3) with Cigar Street, the Forward Gal (G2) and Old Hat (G3) with Kauai Katie, the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) with Point of Entry, the Rampart (G3) with Ciao Bella, the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) with Dreaming of Julia, the Sugar Swirl (G3) with Dust and Diamonds, and the Mac Diarmida (G2) with Amira's Prince.
Velazquez was the second leading rider at the 2013 Saratoga meet. Won the Haskell (G1) and Pegasus (G3) at Monmouth with Verrazano, the Man o' War at Belmont with Boisterous, the Firecracker (G2) at Churchill with Wise Dan Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (G1) and Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) in October at Keeneland.
Velazquez got a late start while recovering from an injury during the 2011-12 Gulfstream meeting, during which he finished second in both wins and purse earnings. However, he led all jockeys with 15 stakes victories, including s Grade 1 score aboard Hymn Book (Donn) and Grade 2 successes aboard Thunder Moccasin (Hutcheson) and Broadway’s Alibi (Forward Gal). His Grade 3 victories came aboard Jackson Bend (Hal’s Hope), R Holiday Mood (Hurricane Bertie), Howe Great (Palm Beach) and Awesome Maria (Rampart and Sabin).
After guiding Union Rags to victory in the 2012 Belmont Stakes, Johnny V was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. in August.
Union Rag’s triumph was the second in the Belmont for Velazquez, who rode filly Rags to Riches for a victory in 2007. He captured the Kentucky Derby in 2011 aboard Animal Kingdom.
He won the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) aboard Wise Dan.
He enjoyed considerable success in Grade 1 stakes in 2012, including victories aboard Shackleford (Met Mile), Point of Entry (Sword Dancer and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic), Turbulent Descent (Ballerina), Love and Pride (Personal Ensign), To Honor and Serve (Woodward), The Lumber Guy (Vosburgh) and Nahrain (Flower Bowl).
He has visited the Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle on 11 occasions in 2011 with Stephanie’s Kitten (Juvenile Fillies Turf) and Perfect Shirl (Filly and Mare Turf), in 2010 with Uncle Mo (Juvenile) and Eldaafer (2010 Marathon), in 2007 with English Channel (Turf), in 2004 with Ashado (Distaff) and Speightstown (Sprint), in 2002 with Starine (Filly and Mare Turf) and Storm Flag Flying (Juvenile Fillies), in 2000 with Caressing (Juvenile Fillies) and in 1998 (Da Hoss).
Velazquez rode Quality Road to victory in the 2009 Florida Derby (G1) and came back the following season to break a track-record with Quality Road in the Donn (G1) at Gulfstream.
He captured the Gulfstream riding titles in 2004 and 2006…He has claimed 21 riding titles at New York tracks.
He won back-to-back Eclipse Awards in 2005 and ‘06.
He set a record in 2005 with more than $24 million in purses.
On Sept. 3, 2001, he became first jockey in Saratoga history to ride six winners on a single card, capping the day off with a victory in the Diana Handicap on Starine. He won his 3,000th career race on July 29, 2004 at Saratoga on “John Velazquez Bobblehead Doll Day.”
Other: He entered jockey school in native Puerto Rico in June 1988 and two years later rode his first winner at El Commandant on Rodas in 1990. He came to New York in 1990 and was guided by Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr., who is now his agent. He is the son-in-law of trainer Leo O’Brien. He is the president of the Jockeys’ Guild.He scored a stunning stakes victory in the Mr. Prospector (G3), in which Apriority recovered after stumbling badly at the start to stage a successful stretch drive. After the race, trainer David Fawkes stated his amazement at Saez’s ability to avoid being unseated at the start and his ground-saving ride thereafter.