Irad Ortiz Jr.

New Rising Star for Classic Empire at the Spa

Lawana and Robert Low's $550,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic purchase Classy Edition (Classic Empire) proved worth the money Sunday as she overcame a rough start to dominate a group of New York-bred fillies and garner the 'TDN Rising Star' distinction. Purchased by agent Jacob West off a swift :10 1/5 breeze at Timonium in May, the bay was 3-5 while bidding to become newly minted Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher's eighth juvenile debut winner of the Saratoga stand and third 'Rising Star'. Pletcher sent out smashing turf winner Annapolis (War Front) on...

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'Safe' to Say Queen's Plate Conquest Huge for Serpe

It's been a difficult few years for Phil Serpe and his stable. Like many smaller outfits trying to compete at a top-tier racing circuit, he has seen his number of horses dwindle as owners move in favor of consolidating their operations in the barns of "super trainers". Partly due to circumstance, partly due to that increasing monopolization of the sport, Serpe has had an especially trying 2021. Heading into this past weekend, he had just two winners to his name since the calendar turned--a 4-year-old maiden-breaker named King Angelo (Lemon...

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New York-Based Invader Takes Queen's Plate

WellSpring Stables' New York invader Safe Conduct (Bodemeister) pressed, pounced and just held off the late-charging Riptide Rock (Point of Entry) to win the 162nd Queen's Plate in a dramatic finish at Woodbine Sunday. With top U.S. jockey Irad Ortiz, riding in his first Queen's Plate, in the irons and making his first start over a synthetic surface, the 3-1 favorite was under a hold while tracking longshot pacesetter Take a Chance (Munnings) through fractions of :24.01 and :48.37. The bay colt rolled up to challenge the pacesetter nearing the...

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Champions Talk RSVP Deadline July 9

Champions Talk, a fundraiser for the NY Race Track Chaplaincy, is scheduled to be held July 19 at 3 p.m. at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion in Saratoga Springs. The RSVP deadline has been extended to July 9. A limited number of seats are available for the round-table discussion featuring five champion jockeys--Chris McCarron, Jorge Velasquez, Richard Migliore, Laffite Pincay Jr. and Angel Cordero Jr. The event, which will be followed by a cocktail reception, will be moderated by Tom Durkin. Each attendee will receive a free limited edition autographed bobblehead of...

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When An Ambulance Follows You at Work, the Job is Never Easy

The Week in Review, by T.D. Thornton A couple of decades ago, I knew a press box wiseguy who faithfully played what he called "ambulance chaser" bets. Every time a rider got unseated in a spill, he would put two bucks to win on the next mount that jockey rode back. The wagers didn't have to involve an actual ambulance ride--he believed the very act of hitting the dirt and having to dust yourself off might give a jockey extra incentive once he or she got back in the irons....

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Ortiz Sidelined Two Weeks

Irad Ortiz, Jr., the leading rider at the current Belmont spring/summer meet, will be out of action for about two weeks after being unseated in Thursday's fifth race, agent Steve Rushing said. The 28-year-old, who has won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey for the past three years running, was transported to hospital for further evaluation and cleared. "A CT scan and X-rays were negative," said Rushing. "He will probably be out for two weeks." Ortiz was named to ride Known Agenda (Curlin) in Saturday's GI Belmont S. Trainer Todd...

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National Defense Filly Blitzes Belmont Maidens for 'Rising Star' Badge

Twilight Gleaming (Ire) (National Defense {GB}), a strong second debuting on the Keeneland main track last month, got to her likely preferred surface of turf Sunday at Belmont and rocketed clear in the lane for 'TDN Rising Star' honors. Bought for £75,000 by Ben McElroy at the Goffs Orby Yearling Sale last October, Twilight Gleaming became the first starter for her freshman sire when backed down to 3-5 Apr. 8 at Keeneland, and ran a game second despite being pinched at the start and going wide on the turn. Recording...

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Familiar Faces Atop Aqueduct Spring Standings

Jockey Jose Ortiz defeated his brother Irad Ortiz, Jr. 24-17 to come out on top of standings for Aqueduct's 11-day spring meet. Leading trainer Chad Brown recorded 10 victories, while his owner Peter Brant tied Orlando and Jonathan Noda's Noda Brothers with four wins to share the owner's title. "It's a big deal," Ortiz said. "We're happy with where we are and it sets us up for the Belmont meet... It's nice to win and I'm also happy for Irad; he's had a great start of the year. He congratulated...

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Week in Review: Irad's Magic on Display in Apple Blossom

It happened again on Saturday, just as it seems to happen on every big day at the track. Irad Ortiz, Jr. won a race he wasn't supposed to win. When a race, in this case the GI Apple Blossom H., comes down to a nose at the wire and Ortiz is on the winning end, he probably made the difference. He's that good. Ortiz picked up the mount on Letruska (Super Saver) for Saturday's race, riding her for the first time. Still, it looked like the best the 5-year-old mare...

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Raging Bull Returns a Winner in Maker's Mark

Having last tasted victory in the GI Shoemaker Mile last May, Peter Brant's Raging Bull (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}) exploded from off the pace to comfortably best 8-1 chance Ride a Comet (Candy Ride {Arg}) in Friday's GI Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland. Settled in a rail-hugging fifth behind Get Smokin (Get Stormy) through opening fractions of :22.47 and :45.65, the 7-2 chance made a big move to get into contention approaching the quarter pole, swung out three wide to take control at the head of the lane and drove...

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Pletcher Takes Home Another Gulfstream Title

After putting an exclamation point on his meet with a win in Saturday's GI Curlin Florida Derby, trainer Todd Pletcher was honored with his 17th Gulfstream Park Championship Meet training title Sunday. The 2021 Hall of Fame nominee and his team sent out 58 winners--eight more than Saffie Joseph, Jr.--for earnings of $3,536,482. Irad Ortiz, Jr. took his third-straight meet title with a record 140 wins, 42 more than Paco Lopez in second. The partnership of Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudecher edged out Arindel Farm 13-12 for leading owner....

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'Champions Talk' to Feature Five Champion Jockeys

The New York Race Track Chaplaincy announced the 2021 renewal of its Champions Talk fundraiser will feature five retired champion jockeys--Ángel Cordero Jr., Chris McCarron, Richard Migliore, Laffit Pincay Jr. and Jorge Velasquez. The quintet won over 34,000 races. The fundraiser will premiere on the organization's YouTube Channel and Facebook page Aug. 11, 2021. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., a three-time Eclipse award winner, will also be honored in recognition of his dedication and support of the backstretch community in New York. Durkin, the former New York Racing Association announcer, will...

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