John R. Velazquez is a jockey in Thoroughbred horse racing. He learned to ride in his native Puerto Rico. On January 3, 1990, he won his first race, aboard Rodas at El Nuevo Comandante racetrack in CanÃ³vanas, Puerto Rico. That same year, under the guidance of agent and former jockey, Angel Cordero, Jr., he moved to New York State where he has earned 24 riding titles at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course.
In 1998 he won the Breeders' Cup Mile, on Da Hoss.
A winner of eight Breeders' Cup races, he has also won graded stakes races such as the Kentucky Oaks, Blue Grass Stakes, Dubai World Cup, E. P. Taylor Stakes, Whitney Handicap, Woodbine Mile, plus the Cigar Mile Handicap. To date in his career, John Velazquez has ridden more than 4,000 winners. In 2004 and 2005 he was the United States Champion Jockey by earnings and was voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2004 and 2005.
In 2004, he won the Bill Shoemaker Award for top Breedersâ€™ Cup performance by a jockey, winning the Breeders' Cup Distaff with Ashado and the Breeders' Cup Sprint with Speightstown.
Velazquez set a Saratoga record with six wins in one card on September 3, 2001.