|John Velazquez has become the leading money-earning jockey in North America
(NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez became North America's
all-time leading money-earning jockey on Sunday at Belmont Park, breaking Pat
Day's record and reaching $297,922,320 in career purses.
According to figures provided by Equibase, Velazquez, 41,
entered the afternoon's card $26,519 shy of Day's mark of $297,914,839, which
the retired Hall of Famer held since 2005.
With four mounts, Velazquez finished
third in the 1ST race, fourth in the 3RD race and third in the 5TH race to
come within $7,919 of the record before breaking it with $15,400 earned for a
second-place finish in the
"It's something that happened to happen, and I'm glad it
happened," Velazquez said.
Earlier this year, Velazquez became the all-time leading
rider at Saratoga, breaking Jerry Bailey's record of 693 winners,
and in July posted his 5,000th career victory.
Born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Velazquez began riding in
the mainland United States in 1990. A winner of 22 NYRA meet titles, including
five at Saratoga, Velazquez won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2004
and 2005 and in 2009 was honored by his fellow riders with the George Woolf
Memorial Jockey Award.