Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez won a pair of races on the opening day of the Bing Crosby meet at Del Mar and his presence is something that Southern California is about to get more used to. The 50-year-old is using his time at Del Mar as a steppingstone to the winter stand at Santa Anita Park, where he plans to ride full time.
“I wanted to get it started here so the trainers and owners know I'm going to be here for the winter,” Velazquez told the Del Mar press office. “Hopefully I'll get the opportunities to ride some real nice horses here and keep me going for the winter.”
Velazquez has ridden with success on the West Coast previously and just last winter, partnered with Bob Baffert to win the GII Sham S. with Newgrange (Violence), the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. with Messier (Empire Maker) and the GIII Las Virgenes S. with Adare Manor (Uncle Mo).
“It's like everything, you have to adjust to wherever you go,” Velazquez says. “Every racetrack has different turns and where the poles are. You have to get used to it and do your homework and hopefully you get some nice horses and they respond to what you like to do. I got lucky [on opening day]; the horses ran really well.”
Velazquez will be aboard Newgate for Baffert in Sunday's GIII Bob Hope S.