Eclipse Award winning jockey John Velazquez is not only one of the nation’s leading riders, he’s also Chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild Board of Directors.
A native of Puerto Rico, Velazquez won the 2009 Florida Derby (G1) and 2010 Donn Handicap (G1) with Quality Road and the 2010 Fountain of Youth (G2) with Eskendereya. Represented by agent and Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero, Velazquez also is the regular rider of Mike Repole’s undefeated Uncle Mo, the early favorite for the 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1).
Married with two children, Velazquez will keep fans up-to-date by occasionally blogging throughout the Gulfstream season. On Saturday, Velazquez will be aboard Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) runnerup Morning Line in the $100,000 Hal’s Hope (G3).
I rode Morning Line in the Donn and it was a tough beat. He fought hard all the way around, and to just get beat at the end was tough. I think with a better post position we would have probably one.
With a better post we would have let the other horse go and kind of sit behind him. I was just in a bad spot the whole way around. I’m a half length inside going into the turn and I’m trying to let the other horse go but he didn’t go, so he kind of kept me there inside. When I tried to back out of it the other horses came right behind us and I was stuck there the whole time. I had to fight my battle right where I was and, hopefully, I was would have something to fight with.
I was very proud of him. Every time I asked him to do something he was there for me. And the winner came from far away. So he fought those two horses all the way right next to him but the winner was so far away he didn’t even know he was out there.
Like I said, it’s frustrating. He would have won, no doubt in my mind, if the other horse would have gone. I was forced to be where I was and had to fight the battle where I didn’t want to be.
On a more positive note, Cal Nation ran a very nice race Saturday. I’ve been working him and he showed in the morning he definitely had a lot of talent. You just hope when they come to the races they show it, and he did. I’m proud of him. He’s been working very well. Uncle Mo worked Sunday. I wasn’t on him but I watched him work. He worked very well and galloped out very well. I was happy with the way he went.
It’s starting to get busy. We’ve had some good mounts and, hopefully, we’ll start to turn things around and get rolling.”