John Velazquez, winner of the Breeders’ Cup’s Bill Shoemaker Award for his riding achievements in the Thoroughbred Championship event, has been named Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for the week of October 27-November 2.
This was the third time for Velazquez to win the Bill Shoemaker Award, and also his third time as Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week.
Velazquez, who took part in a live chat on JockeyTalk360.com on Wednesday, ahead of his Breeders’ Cup successes, strung together five top-three finishes, including a win in the $3 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf on Main Sequence, to take the Bill Shoemaker Award. The Award is based on a 10-5-3-1 scoring system for first through fourth-place finishes in each of the Breeders’ Cup World Championship races. Velazquez previously won the award in 2004 and 2011.
In the JT360 chat, Velazquez noted that on the turf, “Come-from-behind horses do better, especially in the longer races. I want to make sure I don’t take the lead too early. Rajiv (Maragh, who won three Grade I stakes in a row with Main Sequence) had good timing with him, and I have to do the same.”
And that’s how the race played out, with Main Sequence well back in the field before sweeping to the front four-wide for a half-length win at 6-1.
The victory on Main Sequence was the 13th Breeders’ Cup win for Velazquez, who was also second in the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Carpe Diem and the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf on Stephanie’s Kitten, while also third in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Undrafted and the $1 million DraftKings Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on Thank You Marylou.
Velazquez learned to ride in his native Puerto Rico and won his first race there in 1990. Later that year, under the guidance of Angel Cordero Jr., he moved to New York where he has won two dozen riding titles.
JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockey of the Week is normally selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, the Daily Racing Form, Equibase, the Jockeys’ Guild, the Paulick Report, the Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America. This week, the award automatically goes to the Bill Shoemaker Award winner.