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Birth Date: Wednesday, November 24, 1971
Birth Place: Carolina, Puerto Rico
|2011 Gulfstream Record|
Career: Future Hall of Famer had another big year in 2011. He won his first Kentucky Derby (G1) with Animal Kingdom. He won seven graded stakes events at Gulfstream, two each aboard R. Heat Lightning and Awesome Maria. Other graded winners in the winter included Travelin Man (Hutcheson), La Luna de Miel (Orchid) and Prince Will I Am (Mac Diarmida). Piloted champion juvenile Uncle Mo to victory in Gulfstream’s Timely Writer to kick off colt’s 3-year-old season. Led all Gulfstream jockeys in money earned and was second at Saratoga in wins and money earned. Won the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf with Perfect Shirl and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with Stephanie’s Kitten. Rode Stopshoppingmaria to victory in the Frizette (G1), Brilliant Speed to the Saranac (G2), Trappe Shot to the True North (G2), Uncle Mo to the Kelso (G2), Aikenite to the Churchill Downs (G2) and Commonwealth (G2), Big Blue Kitten in National Museum of Racing (G2), Sidney’s Candy in Fourstardave (G2), Overdriven in Sanford (G2), Excited in Virginia Oaks (G3). Rode 2009 Florida Derby winner Quality Road to track record in Donn Handicap. Won Breeders’ Cup races with undefeated Uncle Mo (Juvenile) and Eldaafer (Marathon). Rode Eskendereya to victory in Fountain of Youth and Devil May Care to Gulfstream Park Oaks ...Won back-to-back Eclipse Awards in 2005 and ‘06. ... Achieved his first career Triple Crown win when aboard Rags to Riches in the 2007 Belmont Stakes and he won the Breeders’ Cup Turf later that year aboard English Channel ... He set a record in 2005 with more than $24 million in purses ... He won the 2007 Fountain of Youth aboard Scat Daddy, and would win that race again with Quality Road in 2009. ... His Gulfstream trophies sit on the mantle alongside championships at Keeneland and eight in New York (including the record for wins in a meet at Saratoga in 2004) ... His previous wins in the Breeders’ Cup came in 2004 with Ashado in the Ladies' Classic and Speightstown in the Sprint and earned him the Bill Shoemaker Award for the day’s top jockey. It was the second time Velazquez had won two races on a Breeders’ Cup card, the first coming in 2002 with wins in Juvenile Fillies (Storm Flag Flying) and Filly and Mare Turf (Starine). Other Breeders’ Cup wins came in 1998 Mile on Da Hoss and 2000 Juvenile Fillies with Caressing. On Sept. 3, 2001, he became first jockey in Saratoga history to ride six winners on a single card, capping day off with victory in Diana Handicap on Starine. He won his 3,000th career race on July 29, 2004 at Saratoga on “John Velazquez Bobblehead Doll Day.” Other: Entered jockey school in native Puerto Rico in June 1988 and two years later rode 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 and, together with his wife, helped organize fund-raisers for Guild charities through sales of autographed hats and shirts throughout the Gulfstream meet.