New York Race Track Chaplaincy To Honor Irad Ortiz Jr.

The New York Race Track Chaplaincy will honor jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. for his generous and continued devotion to the backstretch community at its fundraiser during the  2021 Saratoga racing meet in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

“Since his arrival on the New York Racing Association circuit, Irad has demonstrated a deep appreciation for our backstretch community, and his actions have directly and indirectly improved the quality of life for those who make their living caring for horses,” said Humberto Chavez, the chaplain for the NY Chaplaincy.  “He is immensely deserving of this honor.”

Ortiz, a native of Trujillo Alto in Puerto Rico, has won nearly 2700 races and earned nearly $200 million in purses in his career. He won the Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding jockey in both 2018 and 2019.  He also took home the title of the leading jockey of the 2020 Saratoga meet.

He won the 2016 Belmont Stakes aboard Creator and has won 11 Breeders’ Cup races.

“Racing would not exist without the dedicated individuals who care for the horses,” said Ortiz.  “It is a blessing and an honor to support them through the work of the NY Chaplaincy.”

Previous honorees have included Anne Campbell, Edgar Prado, Michael Dubb, Fay and David Donk, Marylou Whitney/John Hendrickson, Letty and Kiaran McLaughlin, Lisa and Kenny Troutt, Debbie and Terry Finley and, last year, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

The honoree is presented with an original painting by equine artist Tom Chapman at a brunch typically held at the Saratoga National Golf Club in Saratoga Springs. The event was held virtually under a different format in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are extremely hopeful that we will be able to once again host our annual event in person and make the presentation to Irad,” said Chavez, “but we will go forward with it only when we can ensure the health and safety of our attendees. We will make those decisions when we get closer to August and will get the word out.”

The NY Race Track Chaplaincy, which will soon be expanding its services as it breaks ground on a dedicated building at Belmont Park, serves the NY backstretch community with children’s enrichment, social service, recreational, and educational programming as well as non-denominational religious services.

Additional information may be found at

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