• The week’s significant milestones
200 John Velazquez
USA: Authentic’s Kentucky Derby victory was the 200th G1 success for jockey John Velazquez in North America.
As popular as he is respected, Johnny V has ridden a total of 6,230 wins in the US and Canada since moving to New York from his native Puerto Rico in 1990, enough to put him at 15th on the all-time list.
However, the 48-year-old’s Hall of Fame career is much more about quality than quantity these days, and his prize-money earnings of more than $423 million mean he is well clear as number one in US racing history.
Frankly, it isn’t even close – Javier Castellano is next best on $350m with Mike Smith third on $331m. Velazquez has 16 Breeders’ Cup races, three Kentucky Derbys and two Belmonts – but never a Preakness. Maybe Authentic will soon be putting that right at Pimlico on October 3.
By the way, Velazquez’s stats do not include victories in Puerto Rico before he moved to the States, nor major overseas victories like the Dubai World Cup (Roses In May, 2005) or the King’s Stand Stakes (Lady Aurelia, 2017) at Royal Ascot.
6 Bob Baffert
USA: As has been well documented, ‘Uncle Bob’ Baffert recorded a record-equalling sixth Kentucky Derby victory with Authentic. His other five winners were Real Quiet (1997), Silver Charm (1998), War Emblem (2002), American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).
Baffert was matching the mark achieved by Calumet Farm’s trainer Ben Jones (1882-1961), whose winners were Lawrin (1938), Whirlaway (1941), Pensive (1944), Citation (1948), Ponder (1949) and Hill Gail (1952).
Both Jones and Baffert have two Triple Crown winners to their name.
1,500 Yuga Kawada
Japan: Congratulations to jockey Yuga Kawada, who rode the 1,500th winner of his Japan Racing Association career when scoring on two-year-old Admire Sage at Kokura on Sunday [Sept 6].
With 120 winners, Kawada, 34, sits in second place in the 2020 standings behind defending champion Christophe Lemaire on 132.
1,000 Andrea Atzeni
GB: Andrea Atzeni reached a landmark 1,000 British winners with a double on Ostilio and Without A Fight at Haydock on Thursday [Sept 3].
Both horses represented the Crisford training partnership and carried the yellow-and-black colours of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.
The Newmarket-based jockey, who won the St Leger two years in a row with Kingston Hill (2014) – for the Sardinian jockey’s longtime supporter Roger Varian – and Simple Verse (2015), said King George winner Postponed is “probably the best horse” he has ridden.
“When moving over here from Italy, from a family with no racing background, I would never have dreamed of reaching 1,000 winners at this stage in my career, so it’s a fantastic achievement,” said Atzeni, 29.
1,000 Luis Perez
USA: Formerly a top rider in Puerto Rico with 1,363 wins there, Luis Perez won his 1,000th race in the States on Tuesday [Sept 1] with a front-running success on Hannah Dances in the eighth at Finger Lakes in upstate New York.