09/02/2004 11:00PM

Velazquez breaks own mark


John Velazquez broke his own Saratoga meet record for victories by a jockey on Friday, and fittingly enough he tied the record and then broke it aboard horses for his first-call trainer, Todd Pletcher.

Velazquez broke his record of 61 victories, set last year, on Willard Straight in the $65,000-added Troy Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at one mile on the turf. He won three races on the afternoon, first aboard Mighty David in the third, and then to tie the record on Pletcher's Candybedandy in the fifth. The Troy victory was Velazquez's eighth stakes win of the meet. The race also gave Pletcher 34 victories this meet, one short of tying the record he set last year. Of Pletcher's 34 winners, Velazquez has ridden 33.

Willard Straight, a 4-year-old son of Lion Cavern, was making his first start since March 21. He was not very sharp early on, dropping to the back of the field out of the gate, but quick fractions up front set up his late run.

Willard Straight made a sweeping outside move and collared Little Jim by the sixteenth pole to win going away by three-quarters of a length. Golden Commander, the 7-2 favorite coupled with Provincetown, was a head back of Little Jim in third.

Willard Straight ($11), owned and bred by Lawrence Goichman, covered one mile over a firm turf course in 1:34.49. Pletcher said he will probably make his next start in the Grade 2 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont on Oct. 9.