FACT CHECK: Did Medina Spirit’s Jockey Say This Quote While Turning Down A White House Invitation?
An image shared on Facebook over 500 times claims jockey John Velazquez turned down a White House invitation after winning the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, saying, “If I wanted to see a horse’s ass I would of came in second.”
There is no record of Velazquez turning down an invitation to the White House or making the statement attributed to him. His agent confirmed the image’s claims are false.
Medina Spirit and his rider, Velazquez, won the 147th Kentucky Derby Saturday, making Velazquez the seventh jockey to win consecutive Kentucky Derbys, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear At The 2020 Kentucky Derby Without A Mask?)
Now, a rumor is spreading on social media that after the victory, the jockey turned down an invitation to the White House and insulted President Joe Biden. One such Facebook post shows a picture of Velazquez riding Medina Spirit, with the accompanying text reading, “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.'”
Major news outlets widely covered this weekend’s Kentucky Derby results. If Velazquez had publicly turned down a White House invitation or made such a remark after the race, it would have been picked up by the media, yet no outlets quoted the jockey as making the remark.
Further adding to the post’s dubiousness, various iterations of the claim have circulated the internet for several years and are often attached to winning horses. In 2019, a Twitter user attributed the same quote to that year’s Kentucky Derby winning horse, Country House, while a 2018 Reddit post attributed it to 2018’s winning horse, Justify.
Velazquez’s agent, Ron Anderson, told Check Your Fact in a phone interview that Velazquez has not been invited to White House and that he had not made such a statement.
“This is one of the most ridiculous things ever,” said Anderson. “The gentleman they are speaking of is of the highest class of anybody that you or I have ever met. I don’t know where this stuff comes from, it’s just outlandish.”