Jockey Angel Cordero, Jr. honored at Night of Champions

ELMONT, NY — The NY Race Track Chaplaincy in conjunction with the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund held their Night of Champions on Oct. 29.

The buffet dinner at Long Island Italian restaurant Passione, was hosted by Mitch Levites, from the MSG Network.

The evening's festivities honored Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr., whose love for the sport and people who work in the backstretch-and support of programs for this important population-has been long and legendary.

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According to America’s Best Racing website:

Angel Cordero Jr. started his riding career in New York in the early 1960’s. He struggled in New York for the first few years, returning to his native Puerto Rico to make ends meet several times.

His national reputation soared when he won the Kentucky Derby twice in a span of three years. He first broke through with Cannonade in 1974. Two years later, he teamed with Bold Forbes to reach the winner’s circle in the Derby and Belmont Stakes. Spend A Buck provided his third Derby triumph, in 1985. He prevailed in the Preakness twice, with Codex in 1980 and Gate Dancer in 1984.

Cordero won four Breeders’ Cup races: the Distaff (1985), the Juvenile Fillies (1988) and the Sprint twice (1988 and 1989). He dominated the rider standings at Saratoga Race Course summer after summer. He earned three Eclipse Awards as outstanding jockey in North America (1982, 1983, 1985) and ultimately was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1988.

Cordero’s career ended prematurely when he suffered severe injuries in a riding accident in 1992. But a new door would soon open for him when John Velazquez, another young rider from Puerto Rico, arrived in New York, needing a helping hand. Cordero provided that and soon became his agent.

The Night of Champions also featured a meet and greet with the three 2017 Triple Crown Champion Jockeys - John Velázquez, winner of the Kentucky Derby, Javier Castellano, winner of the Preakness Stakes, and Jose Ortiz, winner of the Belmont Stakes. The public was invited to attend and bid on auction items including a 1% ownership of a thoroughbred, VIP package for the 2018 Belmont Stakes and memorabilia.

The funds raised at the Night of Champions on Sunday will go directly to the services and programs of the NY-RTCA and the PDJF.

For more information about the Chaplaincy see

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