Johnny Velazquez rides 5,000th winner
NEW YORK -- Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez reached 5,000 career victories Friday at Belmont Park.
Velazquez, 41-years-old, was a perfect 3 for 3 on day, hitting the milestone with Galloping Giraffe, his final mount. He is the 28th rider to reach the plateau, with only victories in the U.S. and Canada counting in the total.
"Everybody says that when you get close to a big number you go into a slump. I started to believe it. `Maybe this is why I'm going so slow!" Velazquez said. "Everything was second and third, second and third. I was riding really good races and, unfortunately, was getting beat. Finally, it's over!"
He was asked if he thinks he can win 1,000 more races.
"I hope so. I plan to ride for a few more years, if I'm healthy enough," Velazquez said. "If God blesses me with health, I'll be here. We got to count on being healthy."
He also guided San Pablo to victory in the $90,000 Criminal Type Stakes, the 10th win in 18 starts for the 5-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher. The time was 1:41.14 for the 1 1/16 miles as San Pablo beat Hymn Book by 3½ lengths.
San Pablo paid $11, $3.50 and $2.30. Hymn Book returned $2.60 and $2.10, and Mucho Macho Man, second in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, paid $2.10 to show.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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