SARATOGA SPRINGS, (NEWS10) — It was set up to be a milestone day at the Saratoga Race Course, as Travers week rolled on Thursday. Jockey Johnny Velazquez was just one win away from becoming the first jockey to win 1,000 races at the Spa.

Velazquez was able to guide Precursory to victory in Race 8 for win 1,000. On his milestone day, Velazquez reflected on his many years at the Spa, and an early conversation he had with jockey Angel Cordero that changed everything. “It means a lot to me actually,” said Velazquez. “It’s very special. Like I was saying earlier, it was very special for Angel, and Angel made it special for me. He wanted to put that in my head that when I came here to Saratoga, you have to thrive here. If you thrive here in Saratoga, you can thrive everywhere you go. That kind of grew on me little by little, little by little, as I got better.

Saratoga holds a special place in the lives of his family. “It’s a special place to be here, and be with my family,” said Velazquez. “This is where I met my wife, and 28 years later we’re still together.”