Becoming one of only a select few to win 6,000 career races, John Velazquez was selected as Jockeys' Guild Foundation Detox Jockey of the Week for November 26 – December 2, 2018. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys' Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America. Jockey of the Week is sponsored by FoundationDetox.com, America's #1 Equine Toxin Remover.
It is unusual for a jockey with just one win in a given week to be voted Jockey of the Week, but it is even less common for a jockey to join the elite circle of riders who have won 6,000 or more career races. On Friday, Velazquez joined that circle, winning his 6,000th career race at Aqueduct.
The milestone win came aboard Singapore Trader ($3.60) in the fifth race of Aqueduct's Friday card. Velazquez and the post-time favorite enjoyed an ever-widening lead to win the eight-horse off the turf allowance event by nearly ten lengths.
Singapore Trader is a 3-year-gelding by Flatter, out of the Unbridled's Song mare Mystic Chant, bred in New York by Stonewall Farm and owned by Barry Schwartz. Velazquez has been aboard for all the gelding's wins, including his maiden-breaking victory in which he won by over 13 lengths.
Singapore Trader is trained by Todd Pletcher; Pletcher also trained Galloping Giraffe, the horse that brought Velazquez his 5,000th win in 2013 at Belmont Park.
The milestone win nearly arrived on Thursday, when Velazquez and Wesley Ward trainee Stage Left led throughout an allowance event but were caught by Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Direct Order at the wire.
Velazquez began riding in New York in 1990. He was honored with an Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in two consecutive years, in 2004 and in 2005. He was inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame in 2012. Velazquez was the first jockey to reach the $300 million mark in earnings and is still the leading jockey by all-time earnings, with nearly $80 million more than Mike Smith in second place.
With his single but important win, Velazquez had an 8% win rate for the week. However, he was in the money on half of his 13 mounts. Velazquez landed in the Top 20 jockeys by money earned last week, adding $149,708 to his 2018 total of $17.6 million.
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