07/27/2013 3:44PM

Saratoga: Velazquez sets mark for career wins at track

Barbara D. Livingston
John Velazquez, aboard Unitarian, accepts congratulations from Todd Pletcher after the jockey's 694th victory at Saratoga on Saturday, breaking Jerry Bailey's record.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Jockey John Velazquez surpassed Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey as the winningest rider in the history of Saratoga when he guided Unitarian to victory in Saturday’s fourth race for his 694th winner at the Spa.

Bailey had broken the record held by Velazquez’s agent, Angel Cordero Jr.

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"It’s all over with now,” said Velazquez, who has won five individual riding titles at Saratoga. “I just couldn’t wait to get it done and move onto something else. I said it earlier, there are two different categories. When Angel was riding there were only 24 days and now we’ve got a lot more racing days, but it’s great to get it done, definitely.”

Bailey acknowledged Velazquez’s achievement in winner’s circle ceremonies after the fourth race.

“You have to avoid injury, you have to avoid suspension - especially here at this meet - and you have to be very, very good for an extended period of time,” said Bailey. “It’s hard to be leading rider here one meet much less meet after meet after meet, and if you aren’t you have to be pretty close each year to set a record like this.”