Irad Ortiz, Jr. Wins Six Stakes En Route To Jockey Of The Week Title

What does a jockey do after winning the Saratoga riding title and before the next NYRA race meet? If you are Irad Ortiz, Jr. you take advantage of the time to ride at race meets with lucrative stakes races. Between Colonial Downs and Kentucky Downs, Ortiz, Jr. recorded six stakes wins including two graded stakes to earn Jockey of the Week honors for Sept. 6 through Sept. 11. The award, which is voted on by a panel of racing experts, honors jockeys who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 1050 active, retired and permanently disabled jockeys in the United States.

On Tuesday, Ortiz, Jr. travelled to Colonial Downs on Virginia Derby Day. After winning three races on the card, trainer Robert Falcone, Jr. gave a leg up to Ortiz, Jr. on Spirit and Glory in the Woodford Reserve Virginia Oaks. Off as the sixth choice in the field of 14, Spirit and Glory came off the rail down the backside and pulled clear late to win in 1:48.25 for the 1-1-1/8 mile turf test.

Riding for trainer Todd Pletcher, Ortiz, Jr. was aboard Capensis in the day’s feature, the Grade 3 New Kent County Virginia Derby. Off as the favorite in the 10-horse field, Ortiz, Jr. settled Capensis in sixth through the half mile. With a burst of speed to pass tiring rivals, he drew clear in the stretch to post a two-length victory in 1:48.15 for the mile and one-eighth turf race.

After winning five races on Tuesday, Ortiz, Jr. won four on Wednesday including three Virginia-restricted turf stakes races. Ortiz, Jr. was first aboard Wolfie’s Dynaghost for trainer Tom Albertrani in the Bert Allen Stakes posting a three-length win as the favorite in 1:42.62 for one and one sixteenth miles.

Riding for Todd Pletcher, Ortiz, Jr. was on two-year-old Sendero in the Jamestown Stakes. Off as the favorite in the nine-horse field, Sendero dueled for the lead on the backstretch before taking command entering the stretch to win by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:04.50 for the five and one-half furlongs sprint.

Ortiz, Jr. capped his raid on the stakes races at Colonial Downs with an upset win on Boldor for trainer Steve Asmussen in the Meadow Stable Stakes. Boldor tracked the leaders on the outside up the backstretch before overpowering the favorite, Grateful Bred in deep stretch to win by a length in 1:02.10 for five and one-half furlongs. It was Ortiz, Jr.’s fourth win of the day.

Ortiz, Jr. moved on to Kentucky Downs on Saturday for the mount on Campanelle for trainer Wesley Ward in the G3 Mint Ladies Sprint. Off as the heavy favorite in the 12-horse field, Campanelle dueled down the stretch with Bay Storm to prevail by a nose in 1:14.57 for the 6-1/2 furlong turf race.

“I love her,” said Ortiz, Jr. “She’s the most kind, fun to ride. She’s crazy good.”

Ortiz, Jr.’s statistics for the week included 12 wins from 34 mounts and $1,585,752 in total purses.

Other contenders for Jockey of the Week were Vincent Cheminaud with a graded stakes win, Juan J. Hernandez who won the G1 Del Mar Futurity, Mike Smith with a graded stakes win at Del Mar, and Ramon Vazquez who won the G1 Del Mar Debutante.

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