Jockey Joe Rocco, Jr., grew up idolizing his father. The senior Rocco rode for 34 years and won 3,714 races in an excellent career.
“I always wanted to be like him,” Joe Jr. said. “Everybody on the track likes him. He treats everybody with respect, from the grooms to the top owners. I am very proud to be his son.”
Born on July 19, 1982, Joe grew up on his family farm in New Jersey and started working on the track in Maryland when he was a teenager, grooming and galloping for Sam Cronk. He won his first race on February 2, 1999 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Joe’s first graded stakes victory came in 2012 when he rode Tiz Miss Sue in the Azeri Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park. She would carry him to his first Grade 1 score, when she won the Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park the following year.
At this writing, Joe has won 1,223 races and his mounts have earned $38 million in purses, so the young reinsman is well on his way to having a stellar career just like his father. Owners and trainers like Joe and have been very complimentary of his skills. Look for him to have a big Keeneland fall meeting.