Sean O'Shea by Sean O'Shea
Jockey John Velasquez on Triple Crown trail with Animal Kingdom -- has strong Irish connections
Posted on Sunday, May 08, 2011 at 08:44 AM
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Jockey John Velasquez made it lucky thirteen when he won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
It was his thirteenth time to ride in the race but his first success.
Known universally as Johnny V, he rode a magnificent race to bring Animal Kingdom home two and half lengths clear.
Johnny V has strong Irish connections.
He was a last minute replacement for Robby Albarado who had had the month from hell.
Albarado was arrested for on domestic abuse charges, then broke his nose in a spill which resulted in him losing the mount on the Derby winner.
Velazquez is now on the Triple Crown trail but not with the horse he expected, Big Mo, the two-year -old champion he partnered was withdrawn on Friday.
The Puerto Rican jocket has strong Irish connections. He is married to Leona O'Brien,daughter of Dublin-born trainer Leo O'Brien, a top trainer himself.
Johnny V has ridden in ireland and won the 2,000 Guineas classic there on Fourstars AllStars in 1991.