The Breeders’ Cup – Ride To Glory

John Velazquez

John Velazquez-One of the Best

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The Breeders’ Cup continually attracts the best equine talent from North America and Europe. Some of the very best horses in training have appeared in the season ending spectacular. It only follows that top trainers would insist on having the best man ‘on top’ for such prestigious and valuable races.

It’s clear to all involved in this great sport, that Ryan Moore is fast becoming one of the best in the business. In recent years he has proven himself on the big occasions, especially at Santa Anita. Any horse he rides at this year’s meeting is sure to appear on a punters short list. But the Americans also have jockeys of the very highest order, with vast Breeders’ Cup experience.

John Velazquez and Mike Smith are two of the most talented and successful jockeys in American racing history. Our own Kieren Fallon spoke in glowing terms of Smith in his column in the Racing Post Weekender, saying: “He has to be the greatest big-race jockey in the world, and should be followed this weekend.”

Mike Smith is a Breeders’ Cup phenomenon. He tops the league for BC winners with an incredible 20. With two in 2011, two in 2012 and three in 2013, his run of success shows no sign of stopping. His partnership with the great Zenyatta has proved one of his career highlights. He rode her to 16 straight victories including two wins at the Breeders’ Cup. When asked in an interview earlier this year, which was the best horse he had ridden, he responded: “I’ve been riding so many great horses, but the most popular would be Zenyatta. I knew I was on something good.”

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This year’s book of rides looks as good as ever, including race favourite Shared Belief in the ‘Classic’. At the age of 49, Smith remains at the top of his game, and has a great chance of adding to his outstanding Breeders’ Cup record.

John Velazquez is the all-time leading money winner in North America, with earnings passing an eye-popping $300 million. A relative youngster at 43, his consistency at the very top level is quite incredible. Again a man that just loves the Breeders’ Cup, he currently has 11 wins to his name. This could have been more but for a terrible fall in the opener of day two last year. Secret Compass broke a leg, and in the fall Velazquez suffered internal bleeding, resulting in him having his spleen removed.

Similar to Mike Smith, he is a man in great demand and has a number of outstanding rides over the coming days. Stephanie’s Kitten is well fancied in the Filly and Mare Turf, whilst he also gets the ‘leg-up’ on Main Sequence in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. With two BC wins in 2010, 2011 and 2012, he rightly sits alongside Smith as a jockey to follow during the thrilling two days at Santa Anita.

It should come as no surprise, that the greatest races are won by the very best horses, ridden by the most talented jockeys. America and Europe have their fair share of outstanding jocks. Moore, Smith and Velazquez are three of the very best.

Click the link below to be a part of the Breeders' Cup 2014 Special Edition and start your Breeders Cup preparations today.

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