SARATOGA SPRINGS John Velazquez rode three winners at Saratoga Race Course on Thursday to move into a tie with the retired Jerry Bailey for most all-time at Saratoga, with 693.
Velazquez, inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame last year, scored on the impressive first-time starters Corfu in the second race and Our Amazing Rose in the fifth before tying Bailey with a win on White Rose in the sixth.
He lost on two subsequent mounts on the card.
In anticipation of the big event today, New York Racing Association spokesman Eric Wing said, "The added highlight for today is definitely the anticipation surrounding John and his pursuit of the all-time Saratoga win record. We look forward to celebrating the big moment with John, his family and his fans."
According to the NYRA website, Velazquez will have three mounts today, with several of his mounts today getting scratched, including Doctor Chit in the first race and Stellerite in the second race. He is still scheduled to ride Sophie's Turn in the fifth race, Bad Hombre in the eighth race and Daddy Loves Gold in the ninth race.
While answering questions about the record on Thursday, Velazquez repeatedly stressed that he was fortunate to ride at Saratoga at a time when the meet lasts 40 racing days.
“It’s an honor just to be named with Jerry Bailey and Angel Cordero. But it’s a different kind of category,” he said. “We have more racing days and more races. It doesn’t seem like a true record, with how many races we have. From 24 days to 40 is very different.”
Velazquez reached 693 victories with 4,204 mounts (16.5 percent). Bailey did it with 3,381 (20.5 percent), and Cordero, third on the all-time list and Velazquez’s long-time mentor, had 459 winners from 2,421 mounts (19.0 percent).