04/10/2013 2:39PM

Kentucky Derby: Velazquez commits to Verrazano, Rosario regains mount on Orb

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Barbara D. Livingston
John Velazquez, currently sidelined with a rib injury, will ride Verrazano (above) in the Kentucky Derby and give up the mount on Florida Derby winner Orb.

John Velazquez will ride undefeated Wood Memorial winner Verrazano in the Kentucky Derby, selecting him over Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby winner Orb, who will be reunited with Joel Rosario in the Run for the Roses.

Rosario’s decision to ride Orb leaves the mount open on Vyjack, whom Rosario had ridden to victory in the Gotham and to a third-place finish in the Wood Memorial. Rudy Rodriguez, trainer of Vyjack, said Wednesday afternoon that he did not have a rider.

Angel Cordero Jr., the agent for Velazquez, said he was committed to ride Verrazano even before Velazquez rode Orb, which he did for the first time in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream on Feb. 23.

“It’s hard to take off an undefeated horse,” Cordero said.

Velazquez, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby on Animal Kingdom, will be out of action for three weeks after suffering a fractured rib on his right side and chipped bone in his right wrist following a spill Sunday at Aqueduct. Velazquez is expected to begin riding again May 1 at Belmont Park, three days before the Derby, Cordero said.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Cordero also said that it’s possible Velazquez may work Verrazano on April 28 at Churchill Downs.

Among the high-profile riders without confirmed Derby mounts are three-time Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel, Garrett Gomez, Rafael Bejarano, Mike Smith, and Rosie Napravnik.

Gomez is named to ride Palace Malice for Pletcher and Dogwood Stable in Saturday’s Blue Grass Stakes. Bejarano is riding Overanalyze for Pletcher and Mike Repole in Saturday’s Arkansas Derby. Smith is riding War Academy for Bob Baffert in the Blue Grass. Borel, who won the 2010 Derby for Pletcher and WinStar aboard Super Saver, rides Texas Bling in the Arkansas Derby. Napravnik rides Fear the Kitten in the Blue Grass.

lfc1963 More than 1 year ago
Rosario will win the derby..Orb all the way baby.....
Tim Berry More than 1 year ago
I don't think John wanted to ride Verazanno in the derby. Catch his interview after theWood... Verazanno won't get 10 furlongs... I haven't picked yet, but I've picked the winner in two of the last three K Derbys.........
Richard More than 1 year ago
Do you really think that Johnny Velazquez Jr. is going to be 100% after fracturing his rib and having a bone chip in his wrist in three weeks? He sustained that injury Sunday April 07, 2013. Broken bones usually take at least six weeks to heal!
Brian R. Johnston More than 1 year ago
Give credit to both Johnny V and his agent Angel Cordero Jr. for making a smart move by choosing Verazanno. The reasons behind the choice are obvious. We'll see you in the winners circle come Derby Day Johnny V.
littlelouis99 More than 1 year ago
Hey the last jock to win the Kentucky Derby is open, yes many great riders available but who was cool as a cucumber in 4 straight races with IHA ? proven money rider on a live horse, Go Mario !!
George Sudduth More than 1 year ago
who??
Joseph Patane More than 1 year ago
Johnny v can ride any horse he wants to. Was pletcher gonna dump him if he chose orb? No way. johnny v, one of the best there ever, is going to ride who he thinks has the best chance of winning. Saying Johnny V doesnt know what hes doing is comical to me, whats next kobe cant play basketball ?
m More than 1 year ago
He knows orb is the better horse....politics is keeping him with pletch
George Sudduth More than 1 year ago
has he won a derby yet? and now committed to the 1887 non 2 yr old runner.........fadded
Kevin Potts More than 1 year ago
John Veazquez won the 2011 Derby on board Animal Kingdom.
Kevin Potts More than 1 year ago
If you're from Kentucky, you would realize the NBA isn't real basketball.
denali1 More than 1 year ago
Its not rocket science to know J.V wasn't gonna ride Verrazono. i understand its Pletcher but i still think Orb is a better horse. I am just glad i didn't have to make that decision.
Rick Holubowicz More than 1 year ago
Orb, Overanalyze, and Oxbow - the three O's. Of course it depends upon how the latter two do in the Arkansas Derby. I've always thought that Verrazano had distance limitations, being by More Than Ready. The feel good story for the Derby is if Shug finally wins it, or Lukas comes back after all these years. Johnny V should have stayed on Orb; big mistake.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Did anyone think he wouldnt ride Pletcher's horse over another?
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Pletcher makes quite a few more trips than Shug to the winners circle.
matt More than 1 year ago
That is because TP runs an assembly line training program. Shug trains for a family who has never bought a racehorse, ever!
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
I did. Orb has won 3 in a row. Not bad. Verrazanno 4 in a row. Not bad either , JV knows better than anyone who he wants to ride regardless of who trains. We are talking the Derby here. Pedigree wise, I like ORB. Look at Verrazzano, he"s already won on 3 different tracks and he is still undeafeated.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
"regardless of who trains" Pletcher has made him millions and I can't imaghine anyone following racing would think that JV would take off an undefeated horse for his main trainer
Rob Beaudoin More than 1 year ago
Velasquez a top 3 rider in my eyes but I'm afraid he made a poor decision here. Orb to me looks much better suited to win @ 10f than Verrazano, coming off the pace at speed favoring Gulfstream the way he did twice really showed to me that he is a legitimate derby contender. Verrazano was all out after running early with an 80/1 shot through slow fractions in NY and was still a tad green and wobbly in the final 100yds, I'd hate to see what he'd look like in the derby if they go 23 flat and a sup 46.4 half with the extra 1/8th of a mile in the toughest race of his life. If I'm wrong I'll admit it after but I will be tossing Verrazano from all exacta bets and possibly all tri's as well.
mrm More than 1 year ago
He was hardly all out.
Robert Barnes More than 1 year ago
Save your money. You're clueless.