Velazquez Breaks Own Mark for Saratoga Wins

Velazquez Breaks Own Mark for Saratoga Wins
Photo: NTRA
John Velazquez
(from Saratoga report)
John Velazquez rode three winners Friday, including two for leading trainer Todd Pletcher, to break the single-season jockey victory total at Saratoga Race Course that he set last year.

Velazquez won the third race with Mighty David for trainer Robert Barbara, then won the fifth with Candybedandy for Pletcher. He capped the afternoon by winning the featured eighth race, the $66,800 Troy Stakes for the Pletcher-trained Willard Straight. It was his 62nd victory of the meet, eclipsing the record of 61 that Velazquez reached in 2003.

Velazquez, whose agent, Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. was once the "King of Saratoga," will be out to add to his total this weekend. Saratoga closes on Labor Day Monday, but Velazquez will be at Philadelphia Park that day to ride Pollard's Vision for Pletcher in the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II).

"I wasn't even looking at the record," said Velazquez, who on Monday, teamed with Pletcher to win five races at Saratoga. "Every day, I was getting more winners, and it surprised me. It's another great accomplishment.

"I've had a lot of help along the way. Angel has done a great job as my agent and Todd has done a great job training the horses. They've given me so much confidence. It helps a lot to have people like them behind you to give you that support. Angel has not only been my agent, but my mentor and he will always be. I've learned so much from him. If I need advice, I always go to him."

And Velazquez has been the go-to guy for Pletcher, who now needs only one victory to tie the Saratoga single-season trainer victory total of 35, which he set last year.

Win No. 34 for Pletcher came in the Troy as Lawrence Goichman's Willard Straight, a 4-year-old Lion Cavern colt, came back to win in his first start since March 21.

(Chart, Equibase)

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