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Cornelio Velasquez Notches 3,000th Career Win

Cornelio Velasquez wins 3,000th race.

Cornelio Velasquez, long one of the leading riders on The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit, reached a personal milestone Sunday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack when he won race 5 aboard  Up in Smoke ($7.30) for his 3,000th  North American victory.


“I feel good,” said Velasquez, who also won more than 1,000 races in his native Panama before moving his tack to the United States. “I’m very happy to have had a big career and that the trainers have given me a lot of chances. It’s like family here at Aqueduct; there’s a lot of competition, but I like New York. It’s the best.”


Following the landmark win, Velasquez, 43, was tied for seventh in the jockey standings at Aqueduct’s fall meet with eight winners. Overall, he was third in New York with 169 winners in 2011, including the Grade 2 Go for Wand with Lovely Lil on Friday at Aqueduct Racetrack, the Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont on Caixa Eletronica, and the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational with Winchester and the Grade 3 Victory Ride aboard Hot Summer, both at Saratoga Race Course.


Earlier this month, Velasquez won the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Marathon on November 5 with Afleet Again.


Velasquez, who rode his first winner in Panama in 1985, has finished among the top 10 jockeys on the NYRA circuit every year since 2004. In 2007, he won the coveted Saratoga riding title with 44 winners.


In 2010, Velasquez finished fifth in the year-end standings with 110 winners from 757 mounts at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont, and Saratoga.

Photo: NYRA - Adam Coglianese





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