John R. Velazquez
One of the most accomplished and respected jockeys in the history of the sport, John Velazquez had won more than 6,300 career races through mid-August 2021 and is North America's all-time leader in purse earnings with more than $440 million.
Nov. 24, 1971, Carolina, Puerto Rico
One of the most accomplished and respected jockeys in the history of the sport, John Velazquez had won more than 6,300 career races through mid-May 2021 and is North America's all-time leader in purse earnings with more than $440 million.
After attending jockey school in his native country of Puerto Rico, the 18-year-old Velazquez journeyed to the United States in March of 1990. His natural skill set caught the eye of Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero, Jr., who mentored the young Velazquez and later became his agent.
Velazquez steadily worked his way into the upper echelon of the competitive jockey colony in New York and began to assert himself as a star in the late 1990s. Velazquez won the first of his five Saratoga riding championships in 1998 and set a Spa record with 65 victories in 2004. He has won a total of 26 riding titles at New York tracks and in 2013 became the all-time leading rider at Saratoga with his 694th career win at the Spa. In October of 2020, Velazquez became the first rider to win 2,000 races at Belmont Park.
The Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey in 2004 and 2005, Velazquez has always been at his best in the biggest races. He has won the Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom (2011), Always Dreaming (2017), Authentic (2020), and Medina Spirit. The 2020 Derby win was the 200th Grade 1 victory for Velazquez, who has also added Triple Crown race wins in the Belmont Stakes in 2007 (Rags to Riches) and 2012 (Union Rags).
Velazquez has also won 18 Breeders' Cup races, including his first Classic in 2020 with Authentic.
Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey — 2004, 2005
North America's leading rider in earnings — 2004, 2005
Triple Crown Highlights
Won the 2011 Kentucky Derby — Animal Kingdom
Won the 2017 Kentucky Derby — Always Dreaming
Won the 2020 Kentucky Derby — Authentic
Won the 2021 Kentucky Derby — Medina Spirit
Won the 2007 Belmont Stakes — Rags to Riches
Won the 2012 Belmont Stakes — Union Rags
Breeders' Cup Highlights
Won the 1998 Mile — Da Hoss
Won the 2000 Juvenile Fillies — Caressing
Won the 2002 Filly and Mare Turf — Starine
Won the 2002 Juvenile Fillies — Storm Flag Flying
Won the 2004 Sprint — Speightstown
Won the 2004 Distaff — Ashado
Won the 2007 Turf — English Channel
Won the 2010 Marathon — Eldaafer
Won the 2010 Juvenile — Uncle Mo
Won the 2011 Juvenile Fillies — Stephanie's Kitten
Won the 2011 Filly and Mare Turf — Perfect Shirl
Won the 2012 Mile— Wise Dan
Won the 2014 Turf — Main Sequence
Won the 2017 Distaff — Forever Unbridled
Won the 2017 Mile — World Approval
Won the 2018 Filly and Mare Turf — Sistercharlie
Won the 2020 Filly and Mare Sprint — Gamine
Won the 2020 Classic — Authentic