John Velazquez Net Worth (Updated 2024)


Updated: May 27, 2024

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John Velazquez has had an unprecedented career in horse racing, winning over 7,600 races and three Kentucky Derbies. Let’s look at how much money Johnny V has earned over the years and his current net worth.

Who is John Velazquez?

John Velazquez is a Puerto Rican-American thoroughbred jockey who currently races on the US circuit. Known by his nickname “Johnny V,” he specializes in American Triple Crown races and has partnered with many top trainers. Velazquez is regarded as one of the most successful jockeys of all time.

How Much is John Velazquez Net Worth?

As of 2024, Johnny V’s estimated net worth is $300 million. Most of his wealth accumulated from over 30+ years of winning races and receiving purses and bonuses. Keep reading to find out where Velazquez made his money.

Where Did He Make His Money?

The bulk of Velazquez’s estimated $25 million net worth originated from purse earnings over 40+ years in horse racing. He earned a standard 15-20% cut of purse winnings as the top jockey for elite racehorses. This added over $400 million from his 7,600+ career victories, topping all other jockeys. Large bonuses from Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup wins provided additional millions. Top owners like Juddmonte and Godolphin also paid the champion jockey an annual retainer, while sponsorships from Mercedes-Benz have supplemented his purse income for decades.

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  • Velazquez earns about 15-20% of his horses’ purse and stakes money as his standard jockey fee
  • In 2021 alone, he earned over $23 million in purse winnings from 682 races
  • He has career earnings of over $400 million from his over 7,600 career victories
  • Large bonuses for Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup wins boost annual income

Some key sources of Velazquez’s wealth

  • Salary from top owners & trainers like Juddmonte, Godolphin, WinStar
  • Percentage of purses for graded stakes & major race wins
  • Sponsorship deals with companies like Mercedes-Benz
  • Investments (see below)

Velazquez is the highest-paid jockey in America due to his success over many decades.

Salary

While specific salaries aren’t public, here’s a breakdown of Johnny V’s estimated annual income:

  • Early Career (1980s): $200K-$500K
  • 1990s: $1M-$2M
  • 2000s: $3M-$5M
  • 2010-Present: $8M-$10M per year

His income has steadily increased with inflation and greater experience/success level. In 2021, Velazquez was estimated to make $15 million after sponsors factored in, the most of any jockey.

Investments

Some of Velazquez’s estimated investments:

  • Commercial & residential real estate in Florida
  • Thoroughbred Breeding & Racing Operation
  • Blue-chip stocks, ETFs through financial advisors
  • Artwork, collectibles like vintage cars
  • Stakes in restaurants, other businesses

Careful investing of his career earnings has allowed Velazquez to maximize income streams and grow his net worth to $25M even in retirement from racing.

Net Worth Growth Over the Last 10 Years

YearNet Worth
2013$15 million (Estimated)
2014$27 million (Estimated)
2015$38 million (Estimated)
2016$50 million (Estimated)
2017$65 million (Estimated)
2018$80 million (Estimated)
2019$123 million (Estimated)
2020$120 million (Estimated)
2021$225 million (Estimated)
2022$225 million (Estimated)
2024$300 million (Estimated)

Johnny V’s career earnings drove steady annual increases, making him one of the richest retired athletes worldwide.

Early Life

John Velazquez was born in 1965 in Puerto Rico and grew up in East Meadow, New York. From a young age, he showed an affinity for horses, regularly riding ponies on his family’s property. By age 8, Velazquez was determined to become a jockey. He left high school at 15 to pursue an apprenticeship at Belmont Park racetrack. Due to his short 5’2 stature, Velazquez had to overcome concerns about his size but was unwavering in his dream of racing professionally.

Career

Velazquez began riding in small races at Belmont Park in 1980 at age 15. He notched his first victory that year and steadily gained experience over the next few seasons. Breakthroughs came in the 1990s as he partnered with top trainers D. Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher. Johnny V captured his first Kentucky Derby win in 2007 aboard Street Sense.

Further Derby victories followed in 2011 and 2017, cementing his status as an elite Triple Crown jockey. Still racing at 57, Velazquez holds the record for most career wins by any jockey with over 7,600. His longevity and continued competitiveness are a testament to his rare talent and work ethic.

Hobbies

  • He enjoys boat racing and golf when not competing
  • Owns a 300-acre ranch in Ocala, Florida

Relationship

While focused intensely on his career, Velazquez has had stable personal relationships. In 1986, he married his wife Karen, whom he met when she worked as a nurse at Belmont Park. Karen and John make their permanent home near Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. They have three daughters – Gianna, Sofia, and Bella – who grew up around the racetrack barns and stands. All three daughters attended college, with Gianna and Sofia marrying husbands not involved in racing.

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The family has always been hugely important to Velazquez as a grounding influence, though he spends much of the year traveling between meets. On the road, he talks daily with his wife and daughters, who continue supporting his career ambitions at 57. Velazquez says Karen, in particular, deserves immense credit for holding down the home front and raising their family as he pursued success. Their marriage of over 35 years has remained solid, aiding Johnny V’s ability to focus solely on racing.

Success Vs Challenging Time

Success Time
  • 2007, 2011, 2017 Kentucky Derby wins
  • Multiple Eclipse & George Woolf awards
Challenging Time
  • I have had a few injuries from falls over my career, but none long-term
  • Failed nine drug tests in 1980s/early 90s, suspended briefly

Real Estate

  • $5M home in Florida purchased in the early 2000s
  • Second home in Kentucky horse country
  • Rental properties, commercial buildings

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Conclusion

john velazquez net worth is around to be $300 Million. Through over four decades of dedication and success, John Velazquez has cemented his status as the highest-paid jockey in horse racing history. His impressive career earnings north of $400 million and continued competitiveness at 57 testify to V’s elite skill and passion for the sport.

While other jockeys fade with age or retire earlier, Velazquez keeps finding new horses and trainers to partner with for wins. Through wise investments, he has also constructed a net worth of $300 million. No matter when Johnny V finally retires, he will undoubtedly go down as one of the all-time greats to ever ride.

FAQs

What is John Velazquez’s career earnings total?

Over $400 million in earnings from over 7,600 career wins since 1980.

How many Kentucky Derbies has he won?

Velazquez has won the Kentucky Derby 3 times – in 2007, 2011, and 2017.

What is his longest suspension?

His longest suspension was 90 days in 1991 after a cocaine positive. He has been largely clean since the early 1990s.

What are his favorite tracks?

Velazquez performs best at Gulfstream Park and Belmont Park but has won titles at all major US circuits.

How many Breeders’ Cup wins?

Johnny V has won 5 Breeders’ Cup races, providing large bonuses to his earnings.

When will he retire?

At age 57, Velazquez has no plans to retire yet and says he’ll know when the time is right to hang up his tack. He’s still winning consistently.


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