Angel Cordero Jr.
Angel Tomas Cordero, Jr. is one of the leading thoroughbred horse racing jockeys of all time and the only Puerto Rican to date to be inducted into the United States' Racing Hall of Fame.
As a child, Cordero was raised among thoroughbred horses; his father, Angel Cordero Sr. was a rider and trainer himself and his uncles were also horse trainers. It was therefore only natural that Angel would follow in their footsteps and start racing - which he did at a young age.
American Classic Races
Angel Cordero Jr., was the only Puerto Rican jockey to win all three of the American Classic Races races which consist of:
- The "Kentucky Derby"
- The "Preakness Stakes"
- The "Belmont Stakes"
In 1974, when he was 31, Cordero won the Kentucky Derby aboard Cannonade. He won the prestigious Derby twice more, making him one of only eight jockeys to win the race three or more times in the Derby's history. In 1976, he won whilst riding Bold Forbes and in 1985, on Spend A Buck. The Kentucky Derby is held annually in Louisville, Kentucky and is considered by many as the most important race in American thoroughbred racing.
In 1976, Cordero won the Belmont Stakes on Bold Forbes, held annually in Elmont, New York and he won the Preakness Stakes twice, once in 1980 aboard Codex and the second time in 1984, aboard Gate Dancer.
Among his other accomplishments, Cordero was the winner of four Breeders' Cups and was the leading rider at Saratoga Race Course for thirteen years.
In 1992, Cordero's career was cut short after a fall which nearly cost him his life. However, against the wishes of his family and friends, in 1995, Cordero saddled up again to ride the "Breeders' Cup" once more. Cordero said: "I want to retire my way and not the other way. I don't want people to remember me going out the other way". Cordero can be considered one of the best jockeys if not the best to ride in the New York area for four decades 60's into the 90's. Often taking chances on the track that no other rider would. Many of those times he made the most difficult move appear effortless. very often resulting in victory. After which Angel would provide the winner circle fans with a leaping dismount. He will always be remembered for his tenacity and sportsmanship.
Cordero has now retired from riding, but continues to be involved in the sport full time. He is the agent of fellow Puerto Rican horse jockey, John Velazquez. Cordero's wife, Majorie Clayton Cordero, who was also a well known figure in New York's thoroughbred racing, died in January 2001. Cordero is the father of five children. Angel Cordero Jr., was inducted into National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1988 and in 2001, he was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame.