John Velazquez

Life Is Good Headlines Star-Studded Saturday of Racing

Holiday weekends are often synonymous with exciting race cards and this Fourth of July weekend is no exception with a dozen graded events on tap Saturday that include some of racing's best. The highlight of the day's action is the return of 'TDN Rising Star' Life Is Good (Into Mischief), who is making his first start back since finishing fourth in the G1 Dubai World Cup Mar. 26 in Belmont's GII John A. Nerud S. A dominant winner of last year's GII Kelso H. and GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile...

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The Week in Review: Mind Control Learning Two-Turn Tricks at Age Six

When the late John Brunetti Sr., the colorful and sometimes controversial owner of Hialeah Park and the Red Oak Stable breeding and racing operation, died at 87 in 2018, his racing manager, Rick Sacco, told TDN, "He's been active right up until the very end [and] this is probably Mr. Brunetti's best crop of homebred 2-year-olds that we've ever had." The standout from that Red Oak foaling class of '16 ended up being GISW Mind Control (Stay Thirsty), who at age six edged up over the $1.5 million earnings mark...

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Happy Soul Looks to Make Amends in Miss Preakness

Gayla Rankin's Happy Soul (Runhappy), a well-beaten sixth last time out in Keeneland's 8 1/2-furlong GI Ashland S. Apr. 8, has already proven her talent sprinting and will attempt to get back on track in Friday's GIII Miss Preakness S. at Pimlico. A runaway winner in two of three starts at two, including Belmont's Astoria S. last June, she was shelved for the rest of the season before resurfacing with a three-length win in Oaklawn's six-panel Dixie Belle S. Feb. 19. In her latest work, she posted a bullet five...

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TDN Top-to-Bottom Derby Rundown

This week's Triple Crown feature examines the trips of GI Kentucky Derby runners in detail from first to last: 1) Rich Strike (unranked also-eligible in TDN pre-race rankings) There are three components of a metaphorical "black swan" event: The happenstance is highly unlikely; it has outsized consequences that almost no one sees coming, and people try to force a rationalization given the benefit of hindsight. That definition sums up Rich Strike's 80-1 shocker in the Derby. This former $30,000 maiden-claiming son of Keen Ice dropped sharply inside shortly after an...

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Franco, Velazquez Fined for Misjudging Oaklawn Finish

The riders of both the winner and the fourth-place horse in a $108,0000 allowance race on last Saturday's GI Arkansas Derby undercard both were fined for apparently forgetting that mile races at Oaklawn Park end at the sixteenth pole and not the traditional finish wire. Geovanni Franco and John Velazquez each were assessed $200 fines from the Oaklawn stewards on Thursday for "misjudging the wire and striking his horse after the finish of the fourth race at Oaklawn Park on April 2, 2022." Franco was on the lead for most...

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Friday's Racing Insights: Laoban Full-Sister Debuts At Keeneland

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency 1st-KEE, $80K, MSW, 2yo, 4 1/2f, 1:00 p.m. The opening day of the 2022 Keeneland Spring Meet features the first 2-year-old races of the year and the first opportunity for freshman sires to get their second careers off to a winning start. Success as a new stallion is of no concern for Uncle Mo, the sire of first-time starter DOMINICANA. A daughter of the SP Speightstown mare Chattertown, Dominicana is a full-sister to GSW and late sire Laoban. Purchased for $300,000 from the 2021 Keeneland...

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Fourth Annual Live Telethon to Benefit PDJF to Be Held Apr. 10

TVG, the New York Racing Association, Keeneland and Santa Anita will team with Hall of Fame jockeys who are members of the Jockeys' Guild and other prominent racing personalities to raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) Sunday, Apr. 10 for the fourth annual telethon to raise money for the PDJF. The event will be broadcast on both TVG and America's Day at the Races on FS2 in collaboration with NYRA and FOX Sports. After missing 2020 due to the pandemic, the popular event returned in 2021 and...

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Sunday's Insights: Sale-Topping Nyquist Colt Makes Second Start at Santa Anita

6th-SA, $67K, Msw, 3yo/up, 1m, 6:38 p.m. ET With a race under his belt, BLETCHLEY PARK (Nyquist) looks to move forward in his second career start Sunday for trainer Bob Baffert. The bay colt, purchased for a sale-topping $2.6 million from the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Park Sale (:9 4/5), was a close second behind Happy Jack (Oxbow), who has since gone on to place third in the GII San Felipe S. Bletchley Park is the first foal to race from the Smart Strike mare Spinning Wheel who, while not a...

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Friday's Insights: Into Mischief Filly Stretches out for Baffert

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency 4th-SA, $67K, Msw, 3yo, f, 1m, 5:02 p.m. BROCADE (Into Mischief) stretches out for trainer Bob Baffert after back-to-back efforts at six furlongs. Piloted by John Velazquez, who is 15/28 for Baffert at the current meet, the daughter of leading sire Into Mischief sold for a $750,000 final bid at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Baffert is an expert at turning sprinters into routers and this pricey filly's pedigree should allow her every chance to hold her speed over the mile. TJCIS PPs                  ...

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Weekly Stewards and Commissions Rulings: Jan. 18-24, 2022

Every week, the TDN publishes a roundup of key official rulings from the primary tracks within the four major racing jurisdictions of California, New York, Florida and Kentucky. Here's a primer on how each of these jurisdictions adjudicates different offenses, what they make public and where. California Track: Santa Anita Date: 01/21/2022 Licensee: Ricardo Ramirez, jockey Penalty: Three-day suspension Violation: Excessive use of riding crop Explainer: Apprentice Jockey Ricardo Ramirez is suspended for 3 racing days (JANUARY 28, 29 and 30, 2022) for violation of California Horse Racing Board rule...

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'Let's Talk' Delves Into Jockeys' Mental Health

Sponsored by 1/ST Racing    The TDN's 'Let's Talk'--a podcast series featuring TDN's Christina Bossinakis and TVG's on-air analyst Gabby Gaudet, offers candid discussion on personal, and sometimes difficult, topics that are often uncomfortable for many to speak about in an open forum.    The latest edition presents a trio of successful jockeys--Journeyman John Velazquez and retired Ramon Dominguez--both in the Hall of Fame--in addition to retired rider Richie Migliore, currently serving as a NYRA and FOX Sports on-air analyst. Few will dispute the fact that jockeys are the iron...

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'Let's Talk' Delves into Jockey's Mental Health

Few will dispute the fact that jockeys are the iron warriors of horse racing. Physical danger is a very real part of the everyday existence of a rider, as is the continual adversity they are forced to endure and adapt (and react) to. On this edition of Let's Talk, the TDN's Christina Bossinakis and TVG's on-air analyst Gabby Gaudet talk to a trio of top jockeys about the stresses they suffer on the job.

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