Saturday, July 27, 2013
Velazquez breaks Saratoga victory record
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- John Velazquez broke Saratoga's career victory record Saturday, reaching No. 694 aboard Unitarian in the fourth race.
The 41-year-old Velazquez broke the mark he shared with Jerry Bailey after riding three winners Thursday.
Velazquez, from Puerto Rico, also holds the Saratoga record for wins in a single day with six on Sept. 3, 2001. Unitarian was the 5,024th winner for Velazquez, a member of racing halls of fame in the United States and Puerto Rico.
"It's a big number, I have to say that," Velazquez said. "Just to be named after Jerry Bailey or Angel Cordero, who probably, in my eyes, obviously, I'm a little biased when it comes to Angel, they are two of the best riders I've ever seen in my career. I'm humbled, and I'm happy."
Bailey was at Saratoga to watch Velazquez break the record.
"It was a matter of time," Bailey said. "I looked at the numbers. He goes by all-time money winnings either this year or next year past myself and Pat Day. He's going to set the standard for everybody. He's a great rider and he deserves every bit of this. I do hope he takes the time to enjoy and reflect on this, because it's major."
Winless with three mounts Friday, Velazquez finished sixth in the second race, then came from behind aboard the Todd Pletcher-trained Unitarian in the fourth.
"I definitely want to say thank you to Todd," Velazquez said. "I've been riding for him since 1998 and we're still going. I want to thank my family, without whose support I wouldn't be able to do this. And I have to thank the fans. The fans have been great to me. Thank you for your support. Thank you everyone. I appreciate it, and hope to win many more."