Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will have a busy week, as he hops from Saratoga to Del Mar to compete in major stakes beginning Sept. 1.
Velazquez has live mounts aboard Shackleford in the Forego Stakes (gr. I) for Dale Romans and To Honor and Serve in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) for Bill Mott on Sept. 1. He then rides Dreaming of Julia in the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) for Todd Pletcher on Sept. 2. He likely has a mount in the Sept. 3 Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (gr. II), but is not sure yet who it is.
He will then fly to Del Mar to ride Capo Bastone for John Sadler in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) Sept. 5.
Dreaming of Julia, a daughter of A.P. Indy – Dream Rush, by Wild Rush, owned by Stonestreet Stables, has run only once, romping by 10 1/2 lengths Aug. 6.
“She is one of the first horses I started working after I came back from my injury,” Velazquez said. “She’s a very talented filly.”
Velazquez is looking forward to getting Shackleford back to his winning ways in the Forego after the Met Mile (gr. I) winner’s poor effort in the mud in the A.G. Vanderbilt Stakes (gr. I).
“Even in the warmup I could tell he wasn’t liking the racetrack,” Velazquez said. “I came out of there running, so I figured I’d put him in the race, but he was not interested in running at all. He did not want to compete on the wet track. He’s been running against every good horse out there, and other than the muddy track he hasn’t done anything wrong. I’ve been very fortunate to get to ride for Dale and that he thought of me to ride this horse (beginning in the Met Mile). I’m glad to be part of the team.”
As for To Honor and Serve, Velazquez last rode the son of Bernardini in an allowance-optional claimer at Saratoga last year, romping by 8 1/4 lengths.
“I was impressed with the way he ran that day, but I didn’t get a chance to ride him back, because I was committed to other mounts,” he said.
Velazquez was impressed enough with Capo Bastone’s career debut Aug. 4 to travel to California to ride the son of Street Boss , who came from far back to win by a neck after making up six lengths in the final furlong.
“Aron Wellman, (president of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners) approached my agent (Angel Cordero Jr.) and asked if I would like to go out there and ride the horse,” Velazquez said. “I went back and saw the video of the race and was very impressed. He came from far back, but it looked like he won convincingly. I’ll see how the synthetic track is playing. You have do your homework and get used to whatever track you’re racing on. If your horse likes the track you’re ahead of the game.”