In 2011, Joe Dietrick made his annual trip to Saratoga Race Course from his home in northeast Pennsylvania. He’s come here for decades, and when he was younger, he’d park his mobile home in Saratoga for the whole meet.
On that day in 2011, Dietrick was with his son Jon and two grandsons. John Velazquez had won the Kentucky Derby that year on Animal Kingdom, and Dietrick, a long-time admirer of the jockey, wanted to make sure that his grandsons met him.
So they settled along the rail on the path that jockeys take to the paddock, and when Velazquez walked by, Dietrick called his name.
“What I’ve always enjoyed about going to Saratoga is that the jockeys stop and talk with you,” said Dietrick this week. “And I’ve always been a fan of Johnny V. He’s so classy in addition to being one of the great riders.”
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