Jorge Velasquez

A top jockey in his native country of Panama before being brought to the United States by Fred Hooper in 1965, Jorge Velasquez became a quick success in North America, leading all riders with 438 wins in 1967. Two years later, he led all jockeys in purse earnings with $2,542,315.

Jorge Velasquez (Barbara D. Livingston)
Inducted

1990

Born

Dec. 28, 1946, Chepo, Panama

Career

1963-1997

Wins

6,795

Earnings

$125,544,379

Racing Record

16.63

Win %

Biography

A top jockey in his native country of Panama before being brought to the United States by Fred Hooper in 1965, Jorge Velasquez became a quick success in North America, leading all riders with 438 wins in 1967. Two years later, he led all jockeys in purse earnings with $2,542,315.

Consistently among the best in the game, Velasquez ranked in the top 10 in earnings for 20 consecutive years (1966 through 1985) and finished among the top 10 in wins 12 times during his career. He rode Hall of Fame fillies Chris Evert and Davona Dale to sweeps of the New York Filly Triple Crown series of the Acorn, Mother Goose, and Coaching Club American Oaks in 1974 and 1979, respectively.

In 1981, Velasquez piloted Pleasant Colony to victory in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Other standouts ridden by Velasquez included Hall of Famers Alydar, Fort Marcy, Desert Vixen, Spectacular Bid, and Lady’s Secret.

Other notable races won by Velasquez include the Beldame Stakes, Man o' War Stakes, and Mother Goose Stakes five times each; the Acorn Stakes, Alabama Stakes, American Oaks, Champagne Stakes, Coaching Club American Oaks, and Withers Stakes four times each; and the Jockey Club Gold Cup three times. 

In 1985, Velasquez set a single-year record with 57 stakes wins, including the Breeders’ Cup Classic with Proud Truth and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with Twilight Ridge.

Velasquez concluded his 33-year career in 1997 with 6,795 wins and purse earnings of $125,544,379.

Achievements

North America's leading rider in wins — 1967
North America's leading rider in earnings — 1969

Triple Crown Highlights

Won the 1981 Kentucky Derby — Pleasant Colony
Won the 1981 Preakness Stakes — Pleasant Colony

Breeders' Cup Highlights

Won the 1985 Juvenile Fillies — Twilight Ridge
Won the 1985 Classic — Proud Truth

Other Highlights

Won the Man o’ War Stakes — 1968, 1969, 1970, 1975, 1979
Won the Mother Goose Stakes — 1972, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1988
Won the Beldame Stakes — 1973, 1976, 1978, 1984, 1985

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