The Spa Spot: Fans salute Velazquez in comeback race
Saratoga Race Course fans gave five-time champion John Velazquez a warm welcome in his return to competition in the fifth race Wednesday.
The Hall of Fame-bound jockey, who broke his collarbone and bruised a kidney in a spill on June 16, finished fourth about Lucky Friend in the race for maiden 2-year-old fillies. Teen Pauline was the easy winner, setting a track record for five furlongs.
Velazquez said he was a bit anxious when he was warming up the filly before taking her to the gate.
"Once I got there it was very good," he said. "I got a good position, but my horse didn't have the speed to stay there, though. She ran well."
The crowd on a brilliant, sunny day greeted Velazquez with cheers and applause during the post parade.
"It's wonderful to be here and the way the fans reacted was very nice," he said.
Velazquez said he felt fine physically. He will ride in the featured Grade 2 Lake George later in the program.
"Actually, I'm better than I thought I was going to be after the race," he said.