Born: Nov. 24, 1971, Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Resident: West Hempstead, N.Y.
Family: wife Leona, daughter Lerina and son Michael Patrick
John Velazquez attended jockey school in his native Puerto Rico from 1988-`90, and in the latter year recorded his first official winner at El Comandante racetrack. Within months, he had found an influential mentor in Racing Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr., who encouraged Velazquez to head north to New York and hone his skills in the big leagues. The young rider did just that, with immediate success. Through much of the 1990s, Velazquez has been a top-ten rider in the Empire State, where in 1994, he scored his first career Grade 1 victory aboard Turk Passer in the Turf Classic.
John Velazquez has earned more than $165 million in his career with more than 3,400 wins. In addition to winning the Eclipse Award last year, Velazquez received the Bill Shoemaker Award as the outstanding jockey in the Breeders' Cup.
- Through Sept. 25, 2005 ranked first nationally in earnings with $14,187,870.
- Through Sept. 25, 2005 had 192 wins in 918 mounts.
- Has six Breeders' Cup victories including a double last year with Ashado in the Distaff and Speightstown in the Sprint.
- Top mounts this year have included Flower Alley (G1 Travers Stakes, G2 Jim Dandy Stakes), Adieu (G2 Spinaway Stakes), Leroidesanimaux (G1 Atto Mile, G2 Fourstardave Handicap), First Samauri (G1 Hopeful Stakes), Happy Ticket (G1 Ballerina Stakes), Ashado (G1 Beldame, G1 Go for Wand Handicap, G1 Ogden Phipps Handicap), Sand Springs (G1 Diana Stakes, G2 Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap), English Channel (G3 Virginia Derby, Colonial Turf Cup Stakes), Spun Sugar (G2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes), Honey Ryder (G3 Glens Falls Handicap), Melhor Ainda (G3 Sands Point Handicap, Appalachian), Suave (G2 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap) and Luas Line (G1 Garden City Breeders' Cup). In addition, he has ridden graded stakes winners Bandini, Limehouse, Roses in May and Sis City this year.
- Started in racing when he entered jockey school in Puerto Rico in June 1988. Began riding in Puerto Rico a year and a half later.
- Moved to New York in March 1990 under the guidance of now-retired, Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr.
- Set a Saratoga record when he won six races on Sept. 3, 2001. The sixth was the Diana Handicap with Starine.
- Broke the Saratoga record he set in 2003 by riding 65 winners in 2004. Had 61 in 2003.
- Leading rider in New York the past four years, winning 228 races in the Empire State in 2004.
- Won the Bill Shoemaker Award for top performance by a jockey in the 2004 Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park.
- Won his 3,000th career race on July 29, 2004, with Runingforpresident at Saratoga.
- Leading rider at Keeneland during the spring 2005 meet.