John Velazquez

A look at the career of Hall of Fame Jockey John Velazquez.

John Velazquez holds up 5 fingers for 5,000 wins.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

HIs first stakes win came in the Ticonderoga Handicap at Aqueduct aboard Proud n' Appeal.

Photo: Bob Coglianese

In 1991, he picked up his first graded stakes win with Private Man in the Grade II Ohio Derby at Thistledown.

Photo: JJ Zamaiko Photography

His first grade I win came aboard Turk Passer in the Turf Classic at Belmont Park on October 7, 1995.

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Photo: Skip DIckstein

HIs second grade I win came later that same month, riding Perfect Arc to victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on October 21, 1995.

Photo: Keeneland Photo

First Breeders' Cup win in 1998, as Da Hoss hangs on in the Mile (gr. I).

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

Riding the popular Gander to victory in the 2001 Meadowlands Cup (gr. II).

Photo: Equi-Photo

In 2002, Velazquez won 2 Breeders' Cup races on the same card for the first time, with Storm Flag Flying in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I),

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

and Starine in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I).

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Photo: Rick Samuels

A hug from owner/trainer Bobby Frankel after Starine's victory.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

2004 was a good year for Velazquez, he earned his 3000th win on July 29, 2004 at Saratoga.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

 Wins included the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) with Ashado,

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

as he enjoyed the Kentucky Oaks' lilies,

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Proud Accolade in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park,

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Speightstown in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Lone Star Park,

Photo: Bill Luster

and Ashado again, this time in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I).

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

He was rewarded for the year's results with his first Eclipse Award for Top Rider, as former jockeys Angel Cordero Jr., Julie Krone and Laffit Pincay Jr. helped him celebrate.

Photo: Wally Skalij

Finding success in the desert in 2005, winning the Dubai World Cup (UAE-1) aboard Roses in May.

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Photo: Trevor Jones

This helped him gain his second consecutive Top Jockey Eclipse Award.

Photo: Wally Skalij

The 2007 Belmont Stakes did not begin well for Velazquez, as his mount Rags to Riches stumbled and both were lucky to stay in the race.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

But not only did they stay in the race, but they also outfought Curlin to take the win by a neck.

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Photo: Rick Samuels

It was the first victory for John Velazquez in a Triple Crown race.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

His 4,000th win came on September 28, 2008 at Belmont Park.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

John Velazquez received the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2009. Hall of Fame Jockey Angel Cordero, Velazquez's mentor and agent, was proud of his accomplishment. Cordero also won the Woolf Award, in 1972.

Photo: Benoit Photo

Uncle Mo seemed poised to deliver the elusive Kentucky Derby victory for John Velazquez, after a perfect juvenile season that included wins in the 2010 Champagne (gr. I) and

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Uncle Mo didn't make it into the Derby gate in 2011, but John Velazquez did, piloting Animal Kingdom to a 2 3/4-length win.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

Letting it all sink in.

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Photo: Mathea Kelley

Enjoying the roses.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Holding the Derby trophy high, flanked by his family.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

Hanging out with Joe Frazier at Saratoga in 2011.

Photo: NYRA

John Velazquez picked up his second Belmont Stakes win in 2012, when he took Union Rags inside of Paynter for the victory.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

Velazquez cools off Union Rags after a hot win in the Belmont Stakes.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

The presentation for the Belmont Stakes. Velazquez is joined by his wife and children, as well as trainer Michael Matz and owner Phyllis Wyeth.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

John Velazquez rode 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan in 5 of his 6 2012 starts, including the Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland,

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Photo: Mathea Kelley

the Fourstardave Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga,

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the Ricoh Woodbine Mile,

Photo: Michael Burns

and in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I), where he held off 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.

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Photo: Crawford Ifland

In the Winner's Circle after the 2012 Breeders' Cup Mile.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

John Velazquez was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2012. Trainer Todd Pletcher presented him his Hall of Fame plaque.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

Velazquez was overcome with emotion at the Hall of Fame ceremony.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

He thanked all the people who helped him along the way.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

Velazquez has won many of New York's iconic races multiple times. His four Met Mile victories include Quality Road in 2010

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

and Shackleford in 2012.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

He also has four Champagne Stakes (gr. I) victories, including Scat Daddy in 2006.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

His three Whitney Handicap (gr. I) wins include two of the fastest with Left Bank in 2002,

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

and Lawyer Ron in 2007.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

And, in 2008, he won the Whitney aboard fan favorite Commentator.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

He also has three Woodward Stakes (gr. I) to his credit, Lawyer Ron in 2007,

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Quality Road in 2010,

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Photo: adam coglianese

and To Honor and Serve in 2012.

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Photo: adam coglianese

Other notable horses ridden by John Velazquez include Flower Alley,

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

English Channel,

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

and Point of Entry.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

John Velazquez brings Galloping Giraffe home in front on June 14, 2013 at Belmont Park. It was the first win for the 3-year-old filly, and the 5,000th win for Velazquez.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

In the Winner's Circle after win number 5,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Trainer Todd Pletcher and the jockey colony at Belmont Park gather to help Velazquez celebrate his 5,000th win.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Congratulations to John Velazquez for win number 5,000. May this just be the beginning!

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Photo: Crawford Ifland

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