Meet Ortiz, Velazquez and Rosario… the £629MILLION jockeys set to take Royal Ascot by storm

THE A-team of American racing is set to take Royal Ascot by storm in 2021.

Hall of Famer John Velazquez and Kentucky Derby winner Joel Rosario are no strangers to success at the Royal meeting.

But they will be joined for the first time by the fiery Puerto Rican jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

The talented trio will be jetting across the Atlantic to partner an eight-strong team trained by Wesley Ward, who has 11 Royal Ascot winners to his name.

Ortiz, 28, has won the prestigious Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey for the past THREE years.


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He has won almost 3,000 races in just ten years as a professional jockey, and in recent seasons he has established himself as the top rider in the USA, with over £149 MILLION in earnings.

He has won 12 races at the Breeders' Cup, including a stunning meeting in 2019 when the Turf and Classic were among his four winners.

He has only ridden in the UK once before, when guiding two-year-old filly Acapulco to second place in the 2015 Nunthorpe Stakes.

Ortiz is famous for his passionate celebrations and he can be hot-headed – as he showed when punching fellow jockey Paco Lopez in a scuffle in February, after which he was fined £700.

John Velazquez, meanwhile, is one of the veterans of the weighing room and has ridden a staggering 6,300 winners.

His career earnings currently stand at an eye-watering £309 MILLION, and he has twice been crowned US champion jockey, in 2004 and 2005.

He has won the Kentucky Derby four times and 15 races at the Breeders' Cup, while he also won the Dubai World Cup aboard Roses In May in 2005.

He has been a regular at Royal Ascot over the last 10 years, and he steered Wesley Ward's speedball filly Lady Aurelia to success in the 2017 King's Stand Stakes.

Velazquez, 48, recently rode Bob Baffert's Medina Spirit to win the Kentucky Derby earlier this month – and that horse subsequently tested positive for a banned substance.

Joel Rosario is another jockey who has several Royal Ascot appearances under his belt.

The Dominican Republic native has over 3,000 winners to his name and his current earnings stand at a whopping £171 million.

Arguably his finest achievement came in 2013, when he rode Animal Kingdom to win the Dubai World Cup at followed up with Kentucky Derby success on Orb five weeks later.

He has had plenty of success riding for Ward, in the US and overseas, and he has ridden two winners at Royal Ascot.

Both came in the Norfolk Stakes, in 2013 on No Nay Never and five years later on Shang Shang Shang, and he will be hoping to add his tally when the meeting begins on June 15.


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