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Johnny Velazquez: Puerto Rican Jockey and 2011 Kentucky Derby Winner

Seen here: Animal Kingdom, Todd Pletcher and Johnny Velazquez after the Derby win | photo by © Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos

In early May, the Churchill Downs’ sandy loam witnessed an onslaught of Latin American jockeys upon their mounts; representatives of Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic and Venezuela were positioned at the gates of the 137th Kentucky Derby. One would win, this the first leg in the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.

Known not only for drawing the big crowd, annually The Kentucky Derby predictably delivers fans with a surprising development or two amidst the clinking of Kentucky Mint Juleps on race day. This year’s twist was no exception. You’ll simply have to read the story for yourself. In the meantime, raise your glasses, for its ‘cheers’ to victory in the 2011 Kentucky Derby to Animal Kingdom and his owners Team Valor International, trainer Graham Motion & last, but not least, Puerto Rican jockey John Velazquez!