Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
John Velazquez will ride his Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom when the recent Dubai World Cup hero makes his career finale at the mid-June Royal Ascot meeting in England.
“Johnny knows the horse better than any other rider and he has had success at Royal Ascot,” trainer Graham Motion said. “He won on a straightaway at Royal Ascot and if we decide to go in the (Group 1) Queen Anne Stakes on opening day up the straight, that experience figures to come in handy.”
Velazquez rode at Royal Ascot in 2000, 2009 and 2011. He has not been aboard Animal Kingdom
since an allowance win at Gulfstream Park in February 2012. Joel Rosario guided Animal Kingdom to
his dominating triumph in the Dubai World Cup.
Barry Irwin of Team Valor said “No American jockey is riding better than Joel right now. We thought he gave a peerless performance in the World Cup. But we don’t think it would be fair for the jockey to ride him on a straightaway when neither jockey nor horse had done it before.