John Velazquez was voted the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week by winning 5 races and placing second twice in 12 mounts at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs.
On Friday, Johnny V started the weekend off right by winning the Islamorada Handicap at Gulfstream aboard Materiality. Velazquez then continued his impressive stakes form on Saturday at Tampa Bay by winning the Challenger Stakes aboard General a Rod, the Grade III Hillsborough Stakes aboard Stephanie’s Kitten, and the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby aboard Derby hopeful Carpe Diem.
When asked about the trip aboard the Todd Pletcher trainee, Velazquez said, “We broke very well and I took a position just where I wanted to be, right behind the leaders. He rated very well and I was able to wait with him until nearing the stretch. When I asked he came away very nicely.”
Velazquez consistently seems to shine brightest when facing the toughest competition and proved it once again by winning 4 of his 5 stakes mounts totaling $372,828 in earnings. He currently ranks 4th in wins with 38 and 5th in earnings with $1,582,063 at Gulfstream Park.
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 Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives from 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.