Irad Ortiz Jr.

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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Mike Stidham Talks Mystic Guide, Godolphin, Arlington On Writers' Room

With over 2,000 wins and dozens of graded stakes scores on his resume, Mike Stidham has well established himself as a top trainer in this business. But as of yet, his stable hasn't quite found its breakout star--one that can take him to Breeders' Cup glory and maybe even an Eclipse Award or two. That may have changed with the arrival of Mystic Guide (Ghostzapper) in Stidham's barn two years ago, as the Godolphin blueblood has steadily developed into a budding star, fresh off a jaw-dropping victory in the GIII...

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Lopez After Fight With Ortiz: 'I Don't Want Any Trouble Going Forward'

After scuffling Friday at Gulfstream Park with Irad Ortiz, Jr., which caused him to be put on probation for the remainder of the meet, Paco Lopez told the TDN Monday he is ready to move on. That there was a fight between Ortiz and Lopez was first reported by the Daily Racing Form's Mike Welsch. The fight was captured on a video that shows Ortiz landing at least three punches on Lopez following the fourth race Friday at Gulfstream. Lopez did not fight back. "For me, it's over. I don't...

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Known Agenda Possible for Florida Derby

St. Elias Stable's Known Agenda (Curlin) may have earned his way into the GI Curlin Florida Derby field Friday after romping to a 11-length victory in the Gulfstream Park's fourth race, a 1 1/8-mile optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds. "We'll talk about it with Mr. and Mrs. Viola and their team," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "We'll talk about it, but I think he ran well enough today that it's definitely in play." Known Agenda, who was sent to post as the 1-2 favorite in a field of six, rated off...

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Irad Ortiz, Jr. Wins Third Straight Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey

It's Irad Ortiz, Jr.'s world and we're all just living in it. The 28-year-old from Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico who has grown up into a superstar before the racing world's eyes continued his dominance in 2020, leading to a third consecutive Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. While his total earnings dipped over $10 million from his 2020 sum, that can be almost entirely attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the cancellation of much of the racing calendar through March and April and dramatic purse cuts that plagued the...

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