Jose Ortiz Wins 3,000th Career Race

Jose Ortiz | Sarah Andrew

Jose Ortiz rode the 3,000th winner of his career when Save the Trees (Preservationist) captured the third race at Churchill Downs Sunday. The 30-year-old, who began his riding career in his native Puerto Rico, moved to the New York circuit in 2012 where he competing against his brother, fellow leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. Five years later, he earned the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. Ortiz won the 2022 GI Preakness S. aboard Early Voting (Gun Runner) and the 2017 GI Belmont S. aboard Tapwrit (Tapit). He has also ridden the winners of five Breeders' Cup races.

“I'd say the top wins that come to mind throughout my career have been in the Triple Crown races–those have been pretty special,” Ortiz said. “It's hard to narrow it down. I've ridden so many talented horses for so many great people. It is such a great accomplishment to win this many races.”

Recently, Ortiz moved to Kentucky with his wife, retired jockey Taylor Rice Ortiz, and their three young children Leilani, Derek and Nikolai.

“Winning races here in Kentucky or New York is great, but we chose to move circuits this year to raise our children in a more rural setting,” Ortiz said. “I talked to my agent [Steve Rushing] and he thought my business would continue to do well in Kentucky and we made the move this year. It's been great to be here at Churchill Downs.”

According to Equibase, Ortiz is listed with 3,000 wins in North America but, due to incomplete records in Puerto Rico, any victories he recorded there are not included in the total.

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