Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, above with trainer Bill Mott in this file photo, achieved another milestone on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)
Jockey John Velazquez is a two-time Eclipse Award winner who was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2012. He has amassed an impressive résumé that includes more than 5,000 wins and 500 graded stakes wins since he took out his jockey’s license in the U.S. in 1990.
On Sunday at Belmont Park, he added another milestone to his list of career achievements when he passed fellow Hall of Famer Pat Day ($297,914,839) to become the all-time leading rider by U.S. purse earnings.
Velazquez guided Bit Bustin to a runner-up finish in the ninth and final race on the card to move past Day into first on the all-time earnings list with $297,922,320.
"It's something that happened to happen, and I'm glad it happened," Velazquez said.
Velazquez led the nation in victories from 2001 through 2004 and earned the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey in 2004 and 2005. He won 50 Grade 1 races from 2006-2011.
Velazquez was aboard Rags to Riches when she became the first filly in 102 years to take the Belmont Stakes in 2007 and earned his first win in the Kentucky Derby in 2011 aboard Animal Kingdom. He recorded his 5,000th career win in June at Belmont Park.
VELAZQUEZ AFTER WINNING HIS 5,000TH CAREER RACE
Photo by Adam Coglianese/NYRA