Angel Cordero Jr : Horse Racing Jockey
Angel Tomás Cordero Jr is not only the sixth best thoroughbred horse racing jockey of all time but also the first, and so far only, Puerto Rican to be inducted into the National Musuem of Racing and Hall of Fame. Born on 8 November 1942, Angel Cordero Jr was raised amongst his fathers thoroughbred horses. Both his father and his uncle were riders and trainers and it was only natural that Angel follow in their footsteps. Thus it wasn’t long before he started racing and by the time he was 32 he’d won his first Kentucky Derby on a horse called Cannonade. He went on to win the Derby on another two occasions – a feat that has only been accomplished by three other jockeys in the history of the race. From then on, things only got better.
In 1976 Cordero won the Belmont Stakes which is held every year in New York. Just four years later, he won the Preakness Stakes – a race which he won again in 1984 on Gate Dancer. Thus, in having won the Belmont, the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby – even though not in the same years – he has the distinct privilege of being the only Puerto Rican jockey to win all three of these Triple Crown races. At about this time he also won four Breeders’ Cup races and he is currently the seventh highest earner in the history of the Breeders’ Cup. A nasty near-death accident forced Cordero into early retirement in 1992 but he soon found his way back into the saddle in 1995 to ride the Breeders’ Cup one last time. When he retired, he had 7,057 wins to his name. He’s also won the Kentucky Derby three times, the Preakness Stakes twice, the Breeders’ Cup four times and the Jockey Club Gold Cup twice, amongst other achievements. He was the leading rider at the Saratoga Race Course for thirteen years and earned the most money in 1976, 1982 and 1983. He also had the most wins to his name in 1982 and 1983. Today he is the proud owner of several awards, including three Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Jockeys, a George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award and Mike Venezia Memorial Award. He was also inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
Cordero is currently a retired jockey but he continues to be involved in the racing and training of thoroughbred racehorses. Cordero’s son Juan Cordero is following in the footsteps of his forefathers and pursuing a promising career as a jockey.