Tuesday, April 21, 2009


OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 21, 2009) Currently in his second year in the Tampa Bay Downs jockey colony, Jose Velez is having a banner season at the Oldsmar oval. Velez is currently the fourteenth leading rider here with 20 wins to his credit through April 21; in the week of April 14 – 19 Velez has booted home three winners and one second place finisher from 8 starters at average odds of 5.86-1.

Jose Velez was born on March 23, 1963 in San Turce, Puerto Rico. He gained an interest in horses through his father, who was also a jockey. Velez began riding in 1980 at Atlantic City Race Course, and in that year rode his first winner at New Jersey’s Meadowlands. In 1982, Velez was named as the leading apprentice at Hialeah Park and was also the leading rider at Gulfstream Park in that year.

Since then, Velez has found success at many tracks along the East Coast; most notably, the journeyman captured ten stakes in the 2002 season at Monmouth Park. In 1997, Velez was inducted into the Calder Hall of Fame, and in 2005 the reinsman won the 3,000th race of his career at Monmouth Park.

Jose Velez says that his favorite moment thus far at Tampa Bay Downs was when he was named the Holiday Inn Express Jockey of the Month. “Right now, so far everything’s all good!” Velez exclaimed of his award. Velez says that he looks to several jockeys as the biggest influences in his career. “I guess it would be Angel (Cordero), Laffit (Pincay, Jr.); people that I’ve seen ride over the years. I’ve seen the way they ride and I admire them.”

Velez says of his experience at Tampa Bay Downs, “I tell you, the turf course is great; it’s a fair course where horses can come from behind or they can stay on the lead. I love it.”

Finish Lines… Please note that Tampa Bay Downs has switched over to its April schedule.

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