Ortiz Brothers: From Cordero’s Garage To Racing’s Highest Echelon

They started by beating out the other applicants for entry into Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocacional Hípica, then shared a bed in a New York apartment. Now, they are to taking turns leading the prestigious Saratoga race meet; the Ortiz brothers have taken the racing world by storm. The New Yorker chronicles that journey, which for each brother in turn included a “test ride” of sorts aboard an Equicizer in Hall of Famer Angel Cordero’s garage.

“Racing in Puerto Rico is different from here,” Irad Ortiz said, the elder brother comparing his 76 wins in Puerto Rico to riding in the United States. “In Puerto Rico, once you exit the gate you are expected to race on the outside, whereas here people like horses to race on the inside.”

Jose Ortiz is a year younger, and this year defeated his brother for the leading rider title at Saratoga (Irad had won it in 2016). In comparing the two jockeys, former steeplechase jockey and Saratoga Special publisher Joe Clancy calls Irad the more aggressive of the two, with a style similar to top rider John Velazquez. Jose Ortiz, on the other hand, is more subtle, with very quiet hands. Clancy Compares him to hockey’s Wayne Gretzky.

“When Johnny V. makes a move, you know it,” Clancy said.

Jose Ortiz, on the other hand, is more subtle, with very quiet hands. Clancy compares him to hockey’s Wayne Gretzky.

“Gretzky looked slow, because he was so fast,” Clancy added. “He’d already made the move. Jose is the same way. He’s in the perfect spot, absolutely where he should be, and you have no idea how he got there.”

Read more at The New Yorker.

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