By Mint Julep


Ángel Cordero Jr. Jockey: 3 Kentucky Derby Wins From 17 Mounts

spend a buck kentucky derby winner 1985

Key Takeaways

  • Ángel Cordero Jr. became the first Puerto Rican jockey to win all three prestigious American Classic Races – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes, making history.
  • With his incredible talent and smart racing strategies, he achieved more than 6000 career wins during his time on the track. Notably, he won three Kentucky Derbies out of just 17 races.
  • In 1988, Ángel Cordero Jr. was honored with induction into the United States’ Racing Hall of Fame due to his remarkable success as a jockey. His legacy as one of the greatest riders ever serves as an inspiration for future riders around the world.

Early Life and Family Background

Growing up, Ángel Cordero Jr. was immersed in the exciting world of horse racing thanks to his father, who instilled a deep passion for the sport in him at a young age. Surrounded by horses and riders during his childhood, he absorbed valuable knowledge that would shape his future career on the tracks.

Ángel Cordero Jr.’s family background not only exposed him early on to Thoroughbreds but also gave him a profound understanding of equine behavior and training methods. This close familiarity allowed him to build strong bonds with his horses, helping them reach their full potential under his expert guidance.

The influence of Ángel Cordero Sr., an accomplished rider and trainer himself, played a crucial role in shaping Ángel Cordero Jr.’s journey towards becoming one of history’s most respected jockeys. Learning from his father helped him develop both technical skills and strategic thinking that set him apart from other racers around the globe.

Even though he came from a family renowned for success in horse racing, Ángel Cordero Jr.’s path to stardom was far from certain. His ascent as a top jockey demanded unwavering commitment and intense practice sessions alongside experienced trainers who pushed him beyond limits – sculpting not just a champion jockey but also an unyielding spirit ready to conquer any challenge thrown at him.

Each race down the homestretch echoed stories of legacy and victory passed through generations before Ángel Cordero Jr., showcasing remarkable accomplishments fueled by passion meeting purpose on legendary grounds where speed intertwines with destiny – inspiring countless aspiring jockeys to fearlessly pursue their dreams against all odds just like he did.

Introduction to Racing

Growing up in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Ángel Cordero Jr. discovered his love for horse racing at a young age. The thundering hooves and exhilarating speed captured his heart from the start. His journey from these humble beginnings to becoming a legendary figure in American horse racing is truly remarkable.

With more than 7,000 career wins under his belt, including prestigious races like the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, Cordero established himself as a top jockey whose name was synonymous with excellence on the racetrack.

His impressive record includes three victories each at both the Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Derby – an extraordinary accomplishment by any measure. These major wins not only highlight his exceptional skills but also demonstrate his unwavering dedication and talent as an outstanding jockey par excellence. Beyond American borders, Cordero’s success extended internationally, solidifying him as a global icon in the world of horse racing.

Cordero’s influence goes beyond mere numbers or trophies; it resonates deeply with aspiring young jockeys who aspire to follow in his footsteps one day. His legacy serves as inspiration for those who have big dreams and are willing to pursue them with passion and determination. By combining natural talent with hard work and perseverance, Ángel Cordero Jr. embodies what it truly means to be a champion both on and off the track – leaving behind a lasting impact that will inspire future generations.

Every racehorse galloping across tracks worldwide carries echoes of Ángel Cordero Jr.’s enduring legacy – reminding us that greatness isn’t just about winning races; it’s about facing challenges head-on while remaining humble amid successes galore. As we navigate through life’s unpredictable paths towards our own goals, let us draw strength from this iconic figure whose spirit lives on in every hoofbeat against the ground: teaching us that victory isn’t always about crossing finish lines first but conquering self-doubt along challenging journeys we undertake.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Their remarkable achievements can inspire the next generation.
  2. Dedication and hard work make them great role models.
  3. They are creating a lasting legacy in the history of the sport.
  4. Valuable lessons on perseverance and overcoming challenges are provided.


  1. Feeling the need to always excel and meet high expectations
  2. Facing potential injuries from the physical strain of racing
  3. Having a short career due to the intense nature of the sport
  4. Risking burnout because of the demanding schedule

Triple Crown Triumphs

Ángel Cordero Jr. made a lasting mark on horse racing history with his incredible wins at the American Classic Races. His trailblazing triumphs in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes distinguished him as a true legend of the sport. Whether he was guiding Cannonade to victory in 1974, showcasing impeccable skill with Bold Forbes in 1976, or steering Spend A Buck to win in 1985 – each race solidified his place as an unforgettable jockey.

During these high-stakes races, Ángel Cordero Jr.’s determination and focus were truly remarkable. With precision and finesse, he expertly led Codex to glory at the Preakness in 1980 before securing another memorable win aboard Gate Dancer in 1984. These victories not only highlighted his exceptional talent but also demonstrated his ability to build strong connections with every horse he rode – turning each race into a masterpiece of teamwork between man and beast.

The legacy that Ángel Cordero Jr. created through his Triple Crown successes goes beyond just numbers; it is a testament to perseverance, passion, and unwavering commitment to excellence on every track stride. His achievements continue to inspire aspiring jockeys worldwide while underscoring the enduring impact he has had on shaping the future of horse racing today – truly capturing the spirit of “riding into greatness” against all odds.

Major Stakes Wins

Ángel Cordero Jr. was a master of horse racing, winning big races like the Suburban Handicap and Jockey Club Gold Cup with his smart tactics. Fans and fellow jockeys admired him for his skills on the track.

Cordero had a long career where he won many Kentucky Oaks races, showing that he was a top-notch jockey who could handle tough races with ease. He knew how to work with each horse’s strengths to achieve incredible success during his time as a rider.

His talent wasn’t limited to just the U.S.—he also won at international events that made fans around the world cheer. His abilities were so impressive that they left a lasting impact on horse racing globally, inspiring future riders to aim high in their careers.

Cordero’s wins didn’t just make him famous; they showed off his dedication and hard work over many years in the sport. Each victory was a result of his relentless pursuit of excellence—a legacy still felt today in horse racing circles.

Reflecting on Ángel Cordero Jr.’s achievements reminds us not only of his amazing skills but also of how much he influenced modern-day horse racing. His successes are an inspiration for anyone striving for greatness against all odds—showcasing true resilience, passion, and champion spirit both on and off the racetrack.

Legendary Jockey: Triumphs, Accolades & Legacy

Attribute Information
Occupation Jockey / trainer
Born (1942-11-08) November 8, 1942 (age 81), Santurce, Puerto Rico
Career wins 7,057
Major racing wins – Roamer Handicap (1968, 1974, 1981, 1984) – Suburban Handicap (1969, 1970, 1974, 1987, 1989) – Jockey Club Gold Cup (1972, 1983, 1984) – Man o’ War Stakes (1972, 1974, 1976, 1988) – Matron Stakes (1974, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1991) – Canadian International Stakes (1977) – Kentucky Oaks (1984, 1989) – Del Mar Futurity (1984) – Arlington Million (1987) – Washington, D.C. International (1988) – Pimlico Special (1989) – U.S. Triple Crown series: Kentucky Derby (1974, 1976, 1985) Preakness Stakes (1980, 1984) Belmont Stakes (1976) – Breeders’ Cup wins: Breeders’ Cup Distaff (1985) Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (1988) Breeders’ Cup Sprint (1988, 1989) – As a trainer: Lexington Stakes (1994)
Racing awards – U.S. Champion Jockey by earnings (1976, 1982, 1983) – U.S. Champion Jockey by wins (1968) – Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey (1982, 1983, 1985) – Big Sport of Turfdom Award (1992) – Mike Venezia Memorial Award (1992)
Honors – United States Racing Hall of Fame (1988) – Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame (2001)
Significant horses Bold Forbes, Waya, Cum Laude Laurie, Seattle Slew, Relaxing, Jim French, Just A Game II, Slew o’ Gold, Chief’s Crown, Spend A Buck, Gulch, Groovy, Cannonade, Manila, Open Mind

International Success

Ángel Cordero Jr. was an incredibly talented jockey who won big races in places like Canada and Arlington, showing that he could compete at a high level around the world.

In international horse racing, Ángel Cordero Jr. was a major player. His wins in different countries not only proved how good he was but also showed his deep understanding of horse racing everywhere. With each victory, he became more famous as one of the best jockeys ever.

By riding with skill on new tracks all over the globe, Ángel Cordero Jr.’s victories in top races outside America left their mark on everyone who loves horses worldwide. He worked hard to be excellent and successful, inspiring young jockeys everywhere to follow their dreams and aim high for success without limits.

The impact of Ángel Cordero Jr.’s global wins is huge in horse racing history, reminding us that talent combined with determination can overcome any challenge we face. His legacy shines bright for future generations of riders who dream big – reaching for greatness while riding magnificent horses under faraway skies.

Hall of Fame Induction

In 1988, Ángel Cordero Jr. was inducted into the United States’ Racing Hall of Fame for his remarkable achievements in Thoroughbred horse racing. This honor recognized his outstanding career and enduring impact on the sport. During his successful career, Cordero won three Kentucky Derbies, demonstrating not only his talent but also his deep bond with these incredible animals that captured fans worldwide. His skill in guiding horses to victory was unmatched; it felt like they were moving as one under his expert direction.

Cordero’s expertise extended beyond American races. He also triumphed in prestigious international competitions such as the Arc de Triomphe in France and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong, establishing himself as a respected jockey globally known for transcending boundaries with his talent. Just hearing about Cordero entering a race drew crowds eager to witness history unfold before their eyes and witness greatness on the racetrack.

His influence went beyond winning races; he inspired future generations of jockeys who admired him for excellence and sportsmanship. Young riders starting out often watched videos of Ángel Cordero Jr., learning from every move he made – how he positioned himself during different stages of a race or communicated subtly with each horse underneath him. Cordero’s legacy isn’t just seen through trophies but lives vibrantly through those inspired by his journey across famous racetracks worldwide.

Magical tales from the Kentucky Derby legend

  1. ### The Enchanting Stories of the Kentucky Derby Hero
  2. **Ángel Cordero Jr.’s Triple Crown Triumph:** Ángel Cordero Jr. pulled off an incredible feat by winning the Kentucky Derby three times during his career.
  3. **Epic Rides:** In his 17 appearances at the Kentucky Derby, Ángel Cordero Jr. clinched victory three times, demonstrating his exceptional jockey skills and talent.
  4. **The Unbreakable Connection:** Cordero’s legendary bond with his horses was truly remarkable. His knack for understanding and communicating with these majestic creatures played a vital role in his triumphs at the Kentucky Derby.
  5. **Tactical Genius:** Renowned for his strategic racing approach, Ángel Cordero Jr. excelled at positioning his horse for success, making quick decisions that often led to wins at this prestigious event.
  6. **Lasting Impact:** The legacy of Ángel Cordero Jr., as one of the most accomplished jockeys in Kentucky Derby history, continues to inspire upcoming riders to pursue excellence on the racecourse for generations to come!

Contributions Beyond Riding

Angel Cordero Jr. made a big impact on horse racing long after he stopped riding. Once he retired, he smoothly switched to training roles and shared his vast knowledge and experience with young jockeys starting out in the sport. He didn’t just help them get better at what they did, but also taught them about hard work and never giving up – qualities that had defined his own successful career.

Aside from coaching upcoming riders, Angel Cordero Jr. was a well-known presence at major horse races worldwide even after stepping down as a rider himself. People valued his sharp insights and smart strategies during races; often hearing him give commentary or analysis added something special for viewers because of the many years of professional know-how behind it all. Whether on TV or live events, having him around gave an air of authority that drew attention not only to the sport itself but also to the amazing legacy he carried.

On top of guiding new jockeys and sharing wisdom through commentating, Angel Cordero Jr.’s efforts towards promoting safety within horse racing were crucial too. Understanding how risky this high-stakes sport could be led him to push for better rules and protective gear so everyone involved – both riders and horses – would stay safe while doing what they loved most. His strong commitment to improving safety standards showed not just how much he cared about the sport but also about everyone taking part in it.

More than just being a great rider with lots of impressive wins under his belt, Angel Cordero Jr.’s lasting influence on horse racing came from everything else he did once off the track too! By getting deeply involved in different aspects like mentoring newcomers, providing expert race analysis, or fighting for safer practices within the industry; all these things made sure people saw him as more than just someone who won races – but rather as a legend whose impact went beyond scoresheets! His way of helping others grow while striving for progress truly set him apart as an iconic figure whose memory continues inspiring generations across equestrian sports globally.

Endorsement Deals and Business Ventures

Ángel Cordero Jr. was not just an amazing jockey but also a successful entrepreneur after retiring from racing. He didn’t stop at winning races; he showed his smart business skills by exploring different opportunities outside the horse racing world.

After retiring, Ángel Cordero Jr. jumped into various businesses that highlighted his versatility and sharp sense for making money. From promoting products to investing in new ventures, he proved that success goes beyond just riding fast horses around tracks worldwide.

One cool thing about Ángel Cordero Jr.’s post-racing life was how he landed big deals with top brands. His charm and reputation as a legendary jockey helped him team up with these companies, showing everyone that he wasn’t only great on the track but also off it.

Apart from endorsements, Ángel Cordero Jr. got involved in different business projects where he used the same focus and precision that made him one of history’s best jockeys. This shift from racetracks to boardrooms proves how real winners adapt their talents and succeed in new fields – something Angel did both within horse racing circles and beyond.

In short, whether speeding down homestretches or sealing important deals behind closed doors, Ángel Cordero Jr.’s never-give-up attitude continues to motivate people – proving that true greatness has no limits when you have passion and purpose driving you forward.

Illness and Passing

Ángel Cordero Jr. was a top jockey in horse racing, winning over 6000 races during his career. He triumphed three times at the prestigious Kentucky Derby out of just 17 attempts, making him one of the greatest jockeys ever. Fans and fellow racers admired his strategic skills on the track.

In 1992, Ángel had a serious fall at Aqueduct racetrack that required spleen removal but he bounced back quickly and continued racing before retiring due to health reasons. Despite these challenges, his legacy remained strong as an inspiration to future generations of jockeys worldwide.

His impact on horse racing history is still felt today through stories of his remarkable achievements and sportsmanship. Watching him ride was like seeing poetry in motion – every move deliberate yet fluid, every decision calculated yet instinctual.

Ángel Cordero Jr.’s name echoes through time as a reminder that greatness is not just about wins but also about overcoming tough situations with resilience and courage. His crafty maneuvers on the track were like an artist painting strokes upon a canvas; each race unfolding beautifully thanks to years of experience and intuition honed to perfection.

Reflecting on Ángel’s incredible accomplishments reminds us that true legends never fade away or lose their shine – instead, they become guiding lights showing us our own paths towards success. By honoring his memory and celebrating his outstanding career, we pay tribute not only to an extraordinary jockey but also to an iconic figure whose spirit lives on in every thunderous hoofbeat heading towards victory’s embrace


1. How did Ángel Cordero Jr. achieve such remarkable success in the Kentucky Derby with three victories from 17 mounts?

Ángel Cordero Jr. won three times in the Kentucky Derby out of 17 races by using his exceptional skills and clever racing strategies, showing his strong commitment to being the best in horse racing.

2. What are some of the major stakes wins that contributed to Ángel Cordero Jr.’s legendary status as a jockey?

Ángel Cordero Jr. became a legendary jockey by winning major races like three Kentucky Derbies, six Belmont Stakes, and two Preakness Stakes victories. His exceptional talent and dedication to horse racing made him stand out in the sport.

3. How did Ángel Cordero Jr.’s international successes impact the world of horse racing?

Ángel Cordero Jr. took the horse racing world by storm with his incredible talent, winning big races in different countries and leaving a lasting impact on the sport. His achievements continue to inspire jockeys around the globe, setting a high standard for future generations to follow.

4. What lasting legacy has Ángel Cordero Jr. left on the sport of horse racing and future generations of jockeys?

Ángel Cordero Jr. left a lasting impact on the horse racing world and upcoming generations of jockeys because of his extraordinary skills, numerous wins in major races, and triumphs on the global stage. His legendary status as a respected figure who continues to influence and shape the sport remains strong today.

5. Can you elaborate on some of the key qualities or skills that made Ángel Cordero Jr. such a successful and iconic figure in horse racing?

Ángel Cordero Jr. achieved remarkable success and became an icon in horse racing because of his exceptional riding skill, strategic brilliance, relentless determination, and profound knowledge of the sport. These qualities enabled him to win important races and make a lasting impact on the world of horse racing.

6. How did Ángel Cordero Jr.’s career inspire and influence other jockeys in the industry?

Ángel Cordero Jr. had a remarkable career, showcasing his incredible talent and winning numerous important horse races. His success continues to motivate and impact many jockeys in the horse racing world today. He serves as an excellent example of hard work, skill, and achievement that younger generations can look up to and learn from in their own careers.