A San Juan Puerto Rico native, Roberto “Bobby” Velez was a longtime horseman training on his own from 1982 – 2009. He also worked as an assistant trainer working closely with some of the top trainers in thoroughbred racing. Bobby was an integral part of developing several top racehorses. His first time in the spotlight was working as an assistant trainer for Budd Lepman. In 1984, they won the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Sprint with Eillo, who won an outstanding 12 out of 17-lifetime starts. But it was a colt named Spend A Buck who would take him on the ride of his life. He became the regular exercise rider for trainer Cam Gambolati and the champion colt, who went on to win the 1985 Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, the Grade 1 Monmouth Handicap, and the Grade 3 Jersey Derby.
Destiny put him together with yet another champion. With trainer John Servis, Smarty Jones would win a fantastic eight races, including the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes, just missing a Triple Crown.
In later years Bobby would join trainer Tyler Servis to help guide him working as his assistant. His many years of experience and knowledge were valued and appreciated.
Bobby passed away on August 26, 2021, leaving behind his two loving sons & family.