John Velazquez

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Millennium Dragon Heads Tough Group of Nine in Appleton

A competitive field of nine older horses has passed the entry box for Saturday's one-mile Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the newly designed turf course at Gulfstream Park. Weighing in with a top impost of 120 pounds is the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Millennium Dragon, stakes winner on two continents including last year's Appleton.

Sis City Long Gone in Davona Dale

Under a cool front end ride from John Velazquez, even-money favorite Sis City hit the stretch six lengths in front and drew way off for an eye-raising 16-length win in the $150,000 Davona Dale (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Maddalena Motors Home in Old Hat

Undefeated Maddalena disposed of her stablemate Portsea on the turn and romped to victory in her stakes debut for trainer Todd Pletcher in the $100,000 Old Hat (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park Saturday.

Front-Running Sis City Rolls in Demoiselle

After two worthy but losing efforts in grade I company, Sis City found the competition in Saturday's Demoiselle (gr. II) Stakes to her liking, rolling to a 3-3/4 length front-end victory for Aqueduct's leading trainer, Richard Dutrow Jr.

Belmont Notebook: Juveniles Week

by John Mucciolo - A total of 57 races were contested over the past six racing days, and favorites continue to perform well. With 23 top betting selections crossing the wire first (40 percent), and 12 second choices winning (21 percent), longshot players were once again up against it at Belmont.

Meadowlands Notebook: Pletcher Faces Decision

by Gary Granade -- With the Breeders' Cup looming on October 30, Pletcher could elect to keep Balto Star on the dirt for the $4 million Classic (G1). The Meadowlands Cup, his first run on the main track in over a year, was a compelling argument for that course of action. On the other hand, Balto Star is a Grade 1 winner on the grass, making the $2 million Turf (G1) a viable option.

Lady Tak Lords Over Gallant Bloom

The brilliant sprinter Lady Tak, with a confident John Velazquez in the saddle, disposed of pacesetter Molto Vita coming off the turn and cruised to a two-length victory as the heavy favorite in the $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares.

Pletcher Pops Champagne with Proud Accolade

Unbeaten Proud Accolade, ridden confidently in his stakes debut by John Velazquez, dealt heavy favorite Afleet Alex his first loss with a half-length victory in the $500,000 Champagne (gr. I) for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park Saturday.

Ocean Drive Cruises to Noble Damsel Win

Favored Ocean Drive, ridden by John Velazquez, made a sweeping move around the leaders to seize the lead and draw away to win the $150,000 Noble Damsel Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park Saturday, her fourth grade III victory in 2004.

Sightseek Shows No Mercy in Ruffian

Juddmonte Farms' Sightseek moved to the front on the outside of her rivals at the quarter pole and blasted away from the field for an 11 1/4-length victory in Sunday's $300,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I), her fourth grade I win at Belmont Park.

Late-Blooming 'Roses' Primed for October

Roses in May could be nicknamed Mr. October, trainer Dale Romans joked prior to the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic Handicap (gr. II). After he recorded his fifth straight victory this year in the easiest fashion possible Saturday at Turfway Park, the 4-year-old colt has risen to the top of the handicap division for the upcoming Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Lone Star Park Oct. 30.

Saratoga Getaway Weekend Hot for Frankel

The Bobby Frankel-trained Arvada, making her United States stakes debut, went gate-to-wire to tally a half-length victory in the second division of the $109,300 Glens Falls Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares at Saratoga Race Course Sunday.

Nothing to Lose Trims Silver Tree in 'Dave

Nothing to Lose, guided by John Velazquez through a couple of narrow gaps in the stretch, squeezed through along the hedge close to home and went on to a narrow victory over Silver Tree in the $200,000 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Saratoga turf Saturday.

So Sweet a Cat Pours it On in Statue of Liberty

So Sweet a Cat, ridden by leading jockey John Velazquez, disposed of pacesetter South Wing with a furlong to go and drew away to a one-sided victory in the $250,000 Statue of Liberty Division of the New York Stallions Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course Thursday.

New York Turf Writers Honor Mineshaft

Mineshaft, Eclipse Award winner as Horse of the Year and best older male, has been named winner of the New York Turf Writers Association's Secretariat Award as New York's Horse of the Year for 2003.

Pletcher's Purge Powers to Peter Pan Win

Jockey John Velazquez got the high-spirited colt Purge to relax while racing on the outside of the pacesetters and the colt responded to the easy handling with a quarter-mile to go to register a sparkling victory in the $200,000 Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont Park Saturday.

Finalists Named for Venezia Memorial Award

Patricia Cooksey, Aaron Gryder, Edgar Prado and John Velazquez have been named as the finalists for the 2004 Mike Venezia Memorial Award. The Venezia Award was instituted by the New York Racing Association to honor riders who "exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship." Venezia was killed in a tragic spill at Belmont Park on Oct. 13, 1988.

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