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Fact Check-Kentucky Derby winning jockey John Velazquez did not turn down White House invitation

Posts claiming that John Velazquez, the jockey for 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, declined an invitation to the White House and made a comment about coming in second place are fabricated. A representative for Velazquez said he never received an invitation or said the alleged comment circulated on social media.

Examples can be seen here and here .

The posts read: “BREAKING NEWS Derby winner Medina Spirit’s jockey John Velazquez turned down a White House invite today saying ‘If I wanted to see a horse’s ass I would of came in second.’”

Medina Spirit stormed to victory in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday to give trainer Bob Baffert a record seventh win in the $3 million Run for the Roses (here).

Under jockey John Velazquez, Medina Spirit jumped out to an early lead and fended off challenges down the stretch in front of 51,838 fans in Louisville, Kentucky, in the largest U.S. sporting event since the start of the coronavirus pandemic (here).

Reuters did not find any evidence that Velazquez was invited to the White House, declined an invitation, or said the quote circulating online. A google search of the quote brings no credible results.

A similar tweet posted on May 4, 2019 here , says: “Kentucky Derby Winner Country House has been invited to the White House by President Trump. Country House replied, “If I wanted to see a horse’s ass I would have came in second!” The tweet suggests this quote might have been recycled.

Ron Anderson, Velazquez’s agent, confirmed to Reuters via phone that Velazquez did not receive an invitation to the White House or ever made the comment. Anderson added that there is “no validity” to the claims.

The White House did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The White House Historical Association explores the relationship presidents in D.C. held with horse racing, here . In 2007, President Bush invited Derby winning jockey Calvin Borel to a state dinner for Queen Elizabeth II.

VERDICT

False. There is no evidence that jockey John Velazquez ever made this comment, received or declined an invitation to the White House.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .         

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