John Velazquez: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

John Velazquez will ride Carpe Diem in the 141st Kentucky Derby. (Getty)

John Velazquez will ride Carpe Diem in the 141st Kentucky Derby. (Getty)

Jockey John Velazquez is a Hall of Famer who has won countless races and dollars.

On Saturday at the 141st Kentucky Derby, he’ll look to add to both columns as he rides the Todd Pletcher-trained Carpe Diem at Churchill Downs.

The 43-year-old won his first race in his native Puerto Rico in 1990 and really hasn’t stopped.

Velazquez stands 5-foot-6 tall and weighs about 109 pounds.

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Here’s what you need to know about Velazquez:

1. Velazquez Has 3 Triple Crown Race Wins

137th Kentucky Derby – May 7th, 2011 – Churchill DownsLive NBC coverage of the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs. To go along with my non-winning tickets this year. 2 of last 4 Derbys I was lucky to hit the Trifecta, but not this year!2011-05-07T23:44:51.000Z

Velazquez is no stranger to winning big races as he’s won 4 Triple Crown runs.

He has won the Belmont Stakes twice (2007, 2012), and the Kentucky Derby in 2011.

He rode Animal Kingdom as a replacement jockey to victory in the 2011 Derby. He took the reins of the horse again at the Preakness Stakes and finished second to Shackleford.

2. He Is the All-Time Leading Money Earning Jockey in North America



With over $323.5 million, Velazquez is the North American career leader in earnings for jockeys.

Every year since 2000, he has ranked in the top 10 of yearly earnings.

Velazquez earned a career-best $22.2 million in 2004.

In 2015, his $5.5 million earned ranks second among all jockeys.

3. Velazquez Has Over 5,000 Wins



To earn that much money for yourself and the owners, you need to win a lot of races. That’s exactly what Velazquez has done.

He’s got over 5,000. To be exact, Velazquez and his horses have crossed the finish line first 5,305. He also has 4,323 career second-place finishes and 3,845 thirds. That’s how you rack up the earnings.

In 2015, he has 53 victories in 258 starts and he’s finished in the top 3 53 percent of the time.

4. He Is a Member of the Racing Hall of Fame

John Velazquez on The Kentucky DerbyRichard Migliore catches up with John Velazquez on his mount, Carpe Diem, in the Kentucky Derby.2015-04-29T20:34:41.000Z

For his remarkable career, Velazquez was voted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2012.

He entered the Saratoga Springs, New York, Hall with 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper.

Other career honors include: the United States Champion Jockey by earnings (2004, 2005), the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey (2004, 2005) and the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award (2009).

5. Velazquez Is Married With 2 Children



Velazquez is married Leona O’Brien, the daughter of trainer Leo O’Brien. His brother-in-law Keith O’Brien is also a trainer.

The couple has 2 children: a daughter, Lerina, and a son, Michael Patrick.

They live on Long Island in New York.

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