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Jockey John Velazquez about the terrifying Preakness incident, Belmont changed, his future

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Jockey John Velazquez about the terrifying Preakness incident, Belmont changed, his future

With horse racing returning to its tracks after being closed by the pandemic, Kentucky Derby jockey and Belmont Stakes twice won, John Velazquez, running through Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby.

Q: How do you feel about protest in this country?

A: I don’t want to do politics, but what’s wrong is wrong. Riots and looting are wrong, do not fix anything. We know that racism exists – it exists here and everywhere, not only in the United States. I’m from Puerto Rico, and I saw it in Puerto Rico too. You have to think about equality. No matter what you are, it’s just the equation for everyone. I am for equality for all people, whether it is a man, woman or skin color or whatever religion. I think humanity would be much better if everyone treated everyone basically the same and gave love and affection.

Q: What does it feel like to have the Belmont Stake as the first leg of the Triple Crown instead of the last?

A: We think that last year was a strange year, and 2020 made it even stranger than last year (laughs). … Very strange.

Q: What does it feel like without a fan?

A: The fans will be answered.

Q: What’s unique about New York racing fans?

A: They are very unique, actually, they can be very, very loving, or very rude too (laugh). You definitely have to have tough skin in New York. Like if you can produce it in New York, you can make it anywhere. They can be very, very good, but they can also be very, very tough.

Q: Race is 1 ¹ / ₈ mile instead of 1 ¹ / ₂ mile Test of a Champion.

A: This is clearly very unusual.

Q: Is that good for your horse, Tap to Win?

A: Really yes (laugh). This time, only reaching 1 ¹ / ₈ mile, this definitely helped my horse.

Q: Why is coach Todd Pletcher right for you?

A: We have become a great partnership – great horses and trust in each other. You have to have a plan for the race, not only Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, but you have to be ready to change quickly and try to make fewer mistakes possible, so after the gate is open, I am the one who has to make the decision to the horses. And he gave me that trust.

Horse racing
Jockey John Velazquez spoke with coach Todd Pletcher.Jason Szenes

Q: Can you summarize the qualities that make you the Hall of Fame jockey?

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A: Great opportunity, great horses, that’s the main thing. But you have to be able to make things happen in the race. Not all the time the horse will make it easy for you to win the race.

Q: Explain Rags to Riches, your 2007 Belmont Stakes winner.

A: I never got the chance to drive it before Belmont. We think the distance is very suitable for him. It was a difficult year for a 3-year-old, and for him to do what he did, stumbling from the gate, I thought that was all, the race had ended since git-go. It goes down to the wire, with the neck in front of the other horse [Curlin], which became a horse the following year. Extraordinary.

Q: Union Rags, winner of your 2012 Belmont Stakes.

A: Another horse that I was fortunate enough that the connection felt compatible with the horse and gave me the opportunity to drive it in Belmont, and not only that, run it all the way we thought it would come out.

Q: Animal Kingdom, winner of your 2011 Kentucky Derby.

A: You have to be a really good horse to do what he does comes from grass to the ground. It was nice to be there, fortunate to be there too, because I shouldn’t ride it.

Q: Always dreaming, your 2017 Kentucky Derby winner.

A: To see it grow from one race to another, and receive many criticisms that people do not believe in it, and he goes and proves we are right. Amazing horse.

Q: Missing your resume: win Preakness. What does that mean for you?

A: This will mean a lot to me, because I have been chasing all these Triple Crown races, and I haven’t had the chance to win Preakness yet. I have two seconds on Preakness.

Q: Tell me about last year’s Preakness.

A: I didn’t ride much, I was thrown (laugh). He [Bodexpress] has a bad reputation for this – this time it’s not his horse’s fault. The assistant starter at the gate did not give us the opportunity the horse needed. When the door opened, he held his mouth and he jumped so high he just threw me. Thankfully, the horse and I returned well.

Q: You were taken on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to the hospital with a broken shoulder after Up a Octave collapsed after winning the Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland in 2006

A: I’ve never really ridden a horse over me, and that’s scary. The entire right side of my body is somewhat numb.

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Q: How much time do you spend?

A: I think I missed two months of the year.

Q: Wise Dan is one of your favorites, right?

A: My favorite horse so far. I was lucky too. He’s a horse that is difficult to drive, must be very strong and very difficult, and I came up with an idea how to make him satisfied and it worked. From the first day I drove it, I hung out with it. He went from land to grass to poly, he won everything. Once he learns to relax and put him in the place I want, that’s what makes him a great horse.

Q: You are thinking of returning to Puerto Rico in 1992. Why not?

A: Apart from my agent I had at the time and did not have anyone … having a very, very difficult meeting, I think I won two or three races that summer at Saratoga. That was my second year of riding. It makes you – you think that you are not good enough. I definitely think I’m going home. My mother [Margarita] said, “Get another agent. This is what you decide to do. You won’t give up that easily.” I found an agent [Ralph Theroux Jr.], and here I am. That is a gift that came from God, I think.

Q: How proud are you that you are the biggest money maker in this sport?

A: I have never thought of such a thing. People trust me with these horses. I have been blessed with the opportunity I have given. You must be proud and humble.

Q: Is that why you like watching “Billions”?

A: I like to learn different things, and it is very entertaining.

Q: If you could choose the brains of every jockey in the history of horse racing, who would you like to sit with?

A: (Laughter) That’s a very good question. I must tell you that I am very fortunate that I have been near all the best jockeys I can remember. When I arrived here in New York, 1990, if you mention it [Angel] Cordero, Jerry Bailey, Gary Stevens, Mike Smith, Pat Day – all the people I was looking for – I rode with them. So I talk to them all the time, you know what I mean? I can’t choose one of them because I talk to all of them (laugh). It was amazing for me to just watch them go up and talk to them.

Q: If you could ride a horse in history, which one?

A: There are so many, but I would say Cigar. I see the growth he has. There is no question for me it is Cigar, yes.

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Q: What about the Secretariat?

A: Yes, I’m not with the Secretariat.

Q: How secure are your feelings on the track?

A: I am the chairman of the Jockey Guild, and I am proud that we have worked with horse racing tracks throughout the country to make protocols. We are very proud and humble to be here and back for business.

Q: You stayed at Cordero’s house when you first came to New York and learned English watching “Little Mermaid” with her 2-year-old daughter Canela.

A: I lived with them for about, I don’t know, two months, I think. And every day he would come home and he would wait for me to sit with him and watch “The Little Mermaid” (laugh).

Q: Favorite movie ”

A: “A Bronx Tale.” We are proud to make the film, and we watch it all the time. We [Cordero and others] were in the film when they had a race at Aqueduct.

Q: Three dinner guests?

A: Marc Anthony, Tom Hanks, Warren Buffett.

Q: Favorite actor?

A: Tom Hanks.

Q: Favorite actress?

A: Jennifer Lopez.

Q: Favorite singer / entertainer?

A: Marc Anthony.

Q: Favorite food?

A: Puerto Rican food.

John Velazquez takes the first throw at Citi Field.Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Q: How much longer do you want to drive?

A: I am healthy and I get the opportunities I have given, even at this age [48] … be selective clear, don’t drive as much race too. I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes, I’m still chasing a few races like you said, so hopefully I’m healthy enough before I retire to win one of those races (laughs).

Q: What drives you?

A: I like to drive, I like to be competitive. I like to do things that I like, and do it well. It keeps me hungry and hungry.

Q: What do you expect from your inheritance?

A: To be honest, I never thought about it. Racing is very good for me and my family, and I think I’m also very good for racing. I think I’ve done a good job by trying to make racing better and trying to make it safer for everyone, and basically trying to grow sports.

Q: Even though there won’t be fans, and even though the race has been shortened, is it still special to win Belmont?

A: Absolutely. Hunger and the desire to win Belmont are special. For me to be in New York, that was my home.

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Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira in 16th place after the first free practice in Assen – DNOTICIAS.PT

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Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira in 16th place after the first free practice in Assen – DNOTICIAS.PT

Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira (KTM) finished the first two free practices of the MotoGP Grand Prix in Assen in 16th place.

Oliveira finished the day with a time of 1.34.676 minutes, 1.402 seconds behind the best rider of the day, Italy’s Francesco Banagia (Ducati). Spaniard Aleix Espargaro (April) was second with 0.178 seconds and French champion Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) was third with 0.305 seconds.

After the first session in the rain, in which the rider from Almada was sixth fastest, the rain stopped before the start of the second session.

The riders started with intermediate tires, but as the track in Assen in the Netherlands, considered the “cathedral” of motorsport, dried up, they installed dry tires (slicks).

Under these conditions, Miguel Oliveira was losing ground in the table, ending the day in 16th place, despite an improvement of about nine seconds from the morning’s record, in rain, in which Australian Jack Miller (Ducati) was the fastest. , fifth in the afternoon.

On Saturday there will be two more free practices and qualifications.

The 10 fastest in the set of the first three sessions go directly to the second stage of qualification (Q2), and the remaining 14 “brawl” in Q1, resulting in the two fastest qualifying to the next stage.

Fabio Quartararo enters this 11th round of the season leading the championship with 172 points, while Miguel Oliveira is in 10th place with 64 points.

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Portuguese MNEs defend that Mercosur is a “natural partner” of the European Union at the moment – Observer

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Portuguese MNEs defend that Mercosur is a "natural partner" of the European Union at the moment - Observer

This Thursday, Portugal’s foreign minister said that at a time when the European Union (EU) seeks to diversify suppliers and markets, MERCOSUR is a natural partner whose importance cannot be “underestimated”.

For Portugal, “the current delicate context makes us appreciate even more the mutual advantages of the Agreement between the EU and MERCOSUR,” João Gomes Cravinho said, without directly referring to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“At a time when the EU is seeking to diversify suppliers and markets in order to ensure greater strategic autonomy, MERCOSUR is a natural partner, whose importance we cannot underestimate“, the minister added at a conference entitled “Brazil and Portugal: perspectives for the future”, which takes place from Thursday to Friday at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) is a South American economic bloc created in 1991, whose founding members are Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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But still, within the framework of the European Union, Joao Gomes Cravinho believed that EU strategic partnership with Brazil left ‘untapped’.

The Minister stressed that in the context of the EU, Portugal “always knew how to use its position in favor of strengthening relations with Brazil.”

Therefore, it was during the Portuguese presidency, in 2007, that a “strategic partnership with Brazil” was established, he stressed.

However, according to the head of Portuguese diplomacy, this is “a partnership that has clearly not been used for a variety of reasons and which still retains the ability to position Brazil as Europe’s great interlocutor for South America.”

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With regard to bilateral relations between the two countries, the minister emphasized that “in this context of global turmoil, the wisdom of the central characteristic common to the foreign policy of Brazil and Portugal, which is active participation in many multilateral structures, in recognition of the indispensability of multilateralism, international cooperation and global rules based order.

Portugal meets with Brazil in all areas of Portuguese foreign policy. We are Atlantic, we are Ibero-American and Portuguese-speaking,” he said.

In the Atlantic dimension, “Portugal and Brazil are united by an ocean, which we recognize as growing in importance in the context of new, complex and truly existential issues,” he said.

According to João Gomes Cravinho, “Some of these problems can be answered in the Atlantic Center, co-founded by Portugal and Brazil”, and “the other part of the huge ocean problems will be addressed in detail at the great Summit.” Oceans”, which will be held in Lisbon next week.

“In any of the areas, new prospects are opening up for Portuguese-Brazilian relations,” he stressed.

With regard to Ibero-America, the minister believes that Portugal and Brazil share “an enormous strategic space with the Castilian-speaking countries, where a joint Portuguese-Brazilian reflection is undoubtedly recommended on the potential to exploit opportunities and create synergies”.

“Value of CPLP [Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa] is gaining more and more recognition at the international level – and the evidence of this is the growing number of states that become associate observers” of the organization, he believes.

“Because they want to engage with us and reinforce the value of the linguistic, cultural and historical ties that unify lusophony and create a unique dynamic for relationships with third parties,” he stressed.

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But even at this level, he argued that there was an urgent need to find a “convergence of visions and desires” that “allows us to enhance” our “separate realities.”

The minister also mentioned that “despite the break caused by the pandemic”, Portugal has a “real air bridge” with Brazil, consisting of more than 74 weekly TAP flights, which is a cause and effect of “a dynamic that is being updated and reinvented”. relations between the two countries.

This dynamic, according to Gomes Cravinho, is also reflected in economic and commercial relations.

Thus, “Brazil is the first Latin American export market for Portuguese merchandise and is already the fourth largest merchandise export destination (outside the EU).

“However, the conviction remains that the potential is far from being realized, and that nostalgia for the future entails a vision of a different profile of our exchanges, a technological, creative profile that corresponds to global geo-economic transformations,” he defended. .

At this stage, João Gomes Cravinho also underlined the potential of the port of Sines, “whose strategic importance, which has long been noted, takes on new importance in the troubled times that we are going through.”

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A cycle of Portuguese cinema will be held in New York from Friday.

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A cycle of Portuguese cinema will be held in New York from Friday.

Dand from June 24 to 30, an event called “New Stories from Portuguese Cinema” will present the perspectives of a new generation of filmmakers “whose films embody the artistic, social and political reflections that mark the 21st century,” according to the organization in a statement.

Balad o batrachio by Leonor Teles, Amor, Avenidas Novas by Duarte Coimbra and O Cordeiro de Deus by David Pinheiro Vicente are three of the 20 films that are part of this cinematic cycle.

Pedro Cabeleira, Laura Carreira, Susana Nobre, Joao Rosas, Tomas Paula Marquez, Catarina de Souza and Nick Tyson, Maya Cosa and Sergio da Costa, Christel Alves Meira, Paulo Carneiro, Pedro Peralta, Diogo Salgado, Catarina Vasconcelos and Aya Korezli other directors integrated into this movie cycle.

In addition to FLAD, this event is also the result of a partnership with New York-based Anthology Film Archives, an iconic venue for independent and experimental filmmaking, hosting a Portuguese film cycle featuring Francisco Valente.

“Anthology Film Archives has been a reference space for over 50 years. It seemed to us ideal to promote the works of these directors, emphasizing their uniqueness and quality. We believe that Portuguese cinema can gain more space in the United States and we want to do our part to internationalize it,” said FLAD President Rita Faden.

Francisco Valente, guest programmer, explained that the 18 selected directors are distinguished by “their unwavering commitment to using the screen to express their personal freedom, reflect their racial and gender identity, and develop narratives that comment on and expand our reality.” – in Portugal, in the United States, or in that beautiful and imaginary country called cinema.

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This connection between Portugal and the United States of America is also expressed in the documentary “In the Footsteps of Utopia”, based on the testimonies of “weird” teenagers from Queens, filmed by Catarina de Souza and Nick Tyson, who will come to New York to find out their joint production, which closes this cycle.

The program of the cycle is available in the Screenings section of the Anthology Film Archives “website” (anthologyfilmarchives.org) and on the FLAD “website” (https://www.flad.pt/wp-content). /uploads/2022/02/new_tales_final_bx.pdf).

See also: Michael J. Fox received a humanitarian “Oscar”, and Diane Warren – an honorary “Oscar”.

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