Velazquez Warms Up For Breeders' Cup With Win At Del Mar

Master Merion Wins Let it Ride Stakes Race 7 at Del Mar 11/01/17 Credits: Del Mar Racing

DEL MAR, Cal. — What does a Hall of Fame jockey do when Belmont is closed, Aqueduct is not yet open and the Breeders' Cup is three days away?

Jockey John Velazquez headed for Del Mar Turf Club and tuned up for his Breeders' Cup engagements with a winning ride aboard Vivianne Ray and Kate Rose's Master Merion in the $101,840-added Let It Ride Stakes, the feature on the opening day of the seaside track's Big Crosby fall meeting.

In his only ride of the afternoon, Velazquez piloted Master Merion to a one length win over six rivals in the one mile turf test for the 3-year-old gelding's third straight win spread completely across the continent.

Sign Up for E-News

After breaking his maiden at Belmont in September, trainer Wesley Ward shipped him to Kentucky Downs where he won the Franklin Simpkins Stakes.

The Let It Ride win was the British-bred's third from seven starts with three other in-the-money finishes. The Del Mar purse payment raised his earnings to $307,190.

Velazquez, who started his mainland riding career under the tutelage of Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero at the New York Racing Association tracks in 1990, and Master Merion attended the Let It Ride pace set early on by Holiday Stone and later by Kitten's Cat.

After the race, Velazquez said he was in no hurry to get to the front. “I'd been told that he would make the lead and then wait for horses,” he said.

The veteran rider sent his charge to the lead in the upper stretch, improved his position passing the 16th pole and crossed the line a one length winner over Harbour Master and Kent Desormeaux. Kitten's Kat and Julien Leparoux were another 1-3/4 lengths back in third.

Master Merion stopped the timer in 1:35.00 on a firm turf course.

Velazquez' real reason for traveling to California begins Friday afternoon when he climbs aboard StarLadies Racing's Orbolution in the $1 million, Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

He also had Breeders' Cup rides on Friday on Hemp Hemp Hooray in the Juvenile Turf and Forever Unbridled in the Longines B.C. Distaff.

His Saturday Breeders' Cup rides will be aboard Stainless in the Juvenile Fillies, Lady Aurelia against the makes in the Turf Sprint, Calculator in the Sprint, World Approval in the Mile, Hazit in the Juvenile and Bigger Picture in the Turf.

A win with any one of those horses will the 14th in Breeders' Cup competition for the rider known to his legion of fans as “Johnny-V.”

See more Equestrian news at

Find us on Facebook


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Chlorine Drum Rupture Shuts Down Nomahegan Swim Club in Westfield

July 13, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — A ruptured chlorine drum has forced closure of Nomahegan Swim Club on Springfield Avenue Friday afternoon.

According to a Westfield police officer on the scene, a 1,000-gallon drum of chlorine ruptured.

In addition to the swim club being closed, some area streets around the swim club near the border of Mountainside and Springfield were cordoned off. According ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 11, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Hispanic Theatre Festival at CDC Theatre in Cranford

July 13, 2018

Hispanic Theatre Festival Bringing Bar Manolo to CDC Theatre in Cranford Spanish-language theatre is alive and well in New Jersey. For the second straight year, the CDC Theatre in Cranford NJ will feature its Hispanic Theatre Festival, its Festival de Teatro Hispanico, for four performances July 26-28.

Despite a large and vibrant Hispanic population of 1.2 million in the state, the creators of ...

Westfield Area YMCA: Take Swim Lessions This Summer

The Westfield Area YMCA is providing a free one-week guest pass to non-members which will also enable access to purchase a week of swim lessons at full member rates during the summer.  The one-week guest pass includes use of the Y’s fitness facilities, land and water group exercise classes and open gym/swim.

“Our goal is to have people of all ages and skill levels grow to ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...

Open Letter to Cranford Planning Board

July 6, 2018

Open Letter to Cranford Planning Board:

As you know, Hartz is scheduled to go before the Planning Board on July 18th.  Since last year, Hartz has postponed their meeting numerous times with no pushback that we can see whatsoever from the Planning Board.  

We are asking the Planning Board to direct the planning board attorney to send Hartz’s counsel a letter requiring that ...