Admitted to the Horse Racing Hall of fame in, as of 2014, he is the all-time leading money-earning jockey in North America. He learned to ride in his native Puerto Rico. That same year, under the guidance of agent and former jockey, Angel Cordero, Junior., he moved to New York State where he has earned 24 riding titles at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course.
To date in his career, John Velazquez has ridden more than 5,000 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. Velazquez set a Saratoga record with six wins in one card on September 3, 2001.
In 2006, he was elected to the Puerto Rico Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Ironically, he rode Dunkirk to his second-place finish in the Grade l Belmont Stakes.
After that race, his earnings reached $297,922,320 in career purses.
Velazquez was supposed to ride Uncle Mo, but his horse was removed from the race due to stomach problems. Then, due to an injury to Robby Albarado, Animal Kingdom"s regular rider, Velazquez took up the reins, ending up in first place. Velázquez rode Animal Kingdom again at the 136th Preakness Stakes and almost repeated the Kentucky Derby feat, coming from behind.
However, Animal Kingdom finished second to Shackleford.
Velázquez said about the loss, "lieutenant"s a tough one. lieutenant"s a real tough one.
I thought this horse had a really good chance to make lieutenant Things didn"t go our way today.
He ran great, but he didn"t quite get there." The horse went on to become a two-time American Horse of the Year in and 2013 with Velazquez as his regular rider.
In, John Velazquez was inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. John Velazquez married Leona O"Brien, the daughter of trainer Leo O"Brien.