John Velazquez

Belmont Stakes Under Consideration for Malathaat

Malathaat (Curlin), the undefeated filly who is coming off a win in the GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, could go next in the June 5 GI Belmont S. "It has crossed our minds," Shadwell Farms Vice President and General Manager Rick Nichols said of the Belmont. "One issue would be whether or not we could get John Velazquez. If Medina Spirit (Protonico) wins the [GI] Preakness Stakes., obviously John will have to choose him for the Belmont. No one would blame him for choosing that horse." Nichols said a final decision...

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Fresh Off Derby/Oaks Double, John Velazquez Joins Writers' Room

There's been a lot of attention, rightfully so, on Bob Baffert in the wake of his record-breaking seventh GI Kentucky Derby conquest Saturday. But John Velazquez made a little history of his own under the Twin Spires this weekend, becoming just the eighth jockey ever to win both the GI Kentucky Oaks and Derby in the same year. Wednesday, the Hall of Fame rider joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by J.P. Morgan Private Banking and Keeneland to talk Malathaat (Curlin), Medina Spirit (Protonico), his approach to race-riding, potential plans...

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John Velazquez Joins the TDN Writers' Room

Fresh off a Derby-Oaks double, Eclipse Award-winning jockey John Velazquez joined this week's Writers' Room to talk on his rides aboard Malathaat and Medina Spirit and share his experiences as a leading jockey and respected mentor.

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The Week in Review: How to Buy a Derby Winner for $1,000

As consignor Christy Whitman remembers, it was deathly quiet when Medina Spirit (Protonico) entered the ring as a yearling at the 2019 OBS Winter Mixed sale. She seemed to be the only one paying any attention to him "I knew he wasn't going to bring much because no one was looking at him," she said. A few minutes later, Medina Spirit would be hers, forever remembered as the GI Kentucky Derby winner who sold for $1,000 as a yearling. It's the umpteenth reminder about how beautifully unpredictable this sport can...

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Medina Spirit Gives Baffert a Record-Breaking Seventh Derby

LOUISVILLE, KY - Face masks and all, the fans were back at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May--an announced 51,838 of them--and louder than ever. The mint juleps were flowing, the sun was shining and it was Bob Baffert standing in the winner's circle for a record seventh time, passing the legendary Ben Jones at the 147th GI Kentucky Derby. Zedan Racing Stables overachieving Medina Spirit (Protonico), just a $1,000 OBS Winter Mixed Yearling turned $35,000 OBS July breezer, set the pace and dug down gamely beneath Johnny...

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Curlin's Undefeated Malathaat Scores Gutsy Victory in KY Oaks

LOUISVILLE, KY - His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum is smiling somewhere tonight. Shadwell Stable's 'TDN Rising Star' Malathaat (Curlin) outslugged Search Results (Flatter) by a neck in a battle of unbeatens in a GI Kentucky Oaks for the ages Friday at Churchill Downs. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Will's Secret (Will Take Charge) in third. Sheikh Hamdan, who campaigned countless champions and Classic winners across the globe, passed away at 75 in late March. "A million things have been going through my mind," Shadwell...

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American Pharoah's Maven Wires Keeneland Allowance

7th-Keeneland, $78,525, Alw, 4-15, (C), 4yo/up, 5 1/2fT, 1:02.60, gd, 2 1/4 lengths. MAVEN (g, 4, American Pharoah--Richies Party Girl {MSW, $357,085}, by Any Given Saturday) became the first North American winner for his sire on debut over the Aqueduct main track just shy of two years ago and was the last of 22 lots to go through the ring for the boutique Goffs London Sale, but was retained by owner Richard Ravin on a bid of £725,000 (about $912,000) that would otherwise have topped the event. The chestnut rewarded...

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Keeneland Maker's Mark Bottle Fundraiser to Benefit LexArts, Isaac Murphy Memorial Garden

This year, the annual release of a commemorative Maker's Mark Bourbon bottle in partnership with Keeneland will benefit LexArts, greater Lexington's premier cultural development, advocacy, and fundraising organization, to support its initiatives at the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden in Lexington. Murphy was a Hall of Fame jockey who remains the only rider to win the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks and Clark H. in the same year (1884). The Art Garden is the first park in the U.S. to honor African American jockeys, who were the earliest Black professional athletes....

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Velazquez and Smith Reelected as Jockeys' Guild Co-Chairmen

Hall of Famers John Velazquez and Mike Smith were reelected as co-chairmen of the Jockeys' Guild during the organization's annual meeting, held virtually Dec. 8. Sponsored by TVG/Betfair, the meeting included a riding crop discussion and an update of the various state regulations and track house rules which have been adopted this year. In addition to Velazquez and Smith, also reelected were Ricky Ramirez, Julien Leparoux, and Javier Castellano as vice-chairs; Joel Campbell as treasurer; Rodney Prescott as secretary; and Joe Bravo and Alex Birzer as directors on the board....

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Jockeys' Guild Begins Legal Action Pertaining to New Jersey Crop Use

In light of the New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC)'s decision and applicable new regulation to eliminate the use of the riding crop but for safety purposes in Thoroughbred racing, the Jockeys' Guild has retained the services of Rivkin Radler LLP in Hackensack, N.J., to take legal action. A notice of appeal of the Commission's new regulation was filed on Nov. 5, 2020, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. As the organization representing jockeys throughout the U.S., the safety of both equine and human athletes are paramount and...

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Radical Change, Status Quo, or Middle Ground for New York Whip Rules?

New York has lagged other racing states in addressing changes to whip use designed to be more humane to Thoroughbreds. But not being an early adopter of controversial new rules can sometimes be an advantage, because regulators are able to assess what is and isn't working in other jurisdictions before making potentially radical modifications to long-standing practices. That was the tone of discussion during the Oct. 19 teleconference meeting of the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), which conducted what amounted to a 2 1/4-hour opinion-gathering dialogue on whether or...

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Regally Bred Curlin Filly Earns 'Rising Star' Tag at Belmont

Shadwell Stable's Malathaat (Curlin), a daughter of Grade I winner Dreaming of Julia (A.P. Indy), ran to the money and her pedigree with a 'TDN Rising Star'-worthy debut victory at Belmont. Breezing a half-mile bullet in :49 1/5 (1/10) on Saratoga's Oklahoma training track Oct. 3, she was hammered down to 4-5 favoritism for this career bow. Running the middle of the bunched up sextet early, the $1.05-million KEESEP buy pushed her way up to contest the pace as the first quarter went in :23 flat. Clocking a half-mile in...

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