ELMONT — Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez won the fourth race aboard Malathaat at Belmont Park on Friday, giving him 2,000 victories at the track, more than any other rider in the 115-year history of Belmont.
The 48-year-old Velazquez, inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2012, has won 6,238 career races and boasts seven Belmont riding titles, four at the spring/summer meet and three at the fall meet.
It was fitting that he hit No. 2,000 at Belmont while riding a horse trained by Todd Pletcher. Velazquez and Pletcher have teamed up to win 492 races at Belmont and 1,820 overall.
“New York’s been home for me,” Velazquez told NYRA’s Maggie Wolfendale during the post-race interview. “Obviously, he’s been one of my supporters for many years. I really love all the people I work with, all the owners, the whole team behind the stables and the people following me. I’m very proud and very blessed.”
Pletcher, who is eligible for the Hall of Fame next year, moved within 13 of 5,000 career wins with the Malathaat victory.
Velazquez owns more career graded wins (680) than any other rider, 170 of which came at Belmont. He has won five riding titles at Saratoga Race Course.
Among his graded stakes wins is this year’s Kentucky Derby aboard Authentic.