Irad Ortiz Jr.

Irad Ortiz Tests Positive for COVID

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., America's leading jockey, has tested positive for COVID-19, the jockey confirmed in a phone call Wednesday afternoon. The news was first reported by Dave Grening of the Daily Racing Form. Ortiz, who had been serving two consecutive five-day suspensions for careless riding July 3 and 31 at Belmont and Saratoga, respectively, said that he was asymptomatic. He rode his last race Sept. 16 at Kentucky Downs, and had not ridden in New York since Sept. 7, the last day of the Saratoga meeting. "I'm feeling good,"...

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Outwork Colt Green But Good Sprinting on Spa Lawn

5th-Saratoga, $72,000, Msw, 7-26, 2yo, 5 1/2fT, 1:02.36, fm. OUTADORE (c, 2, Outwork--Adore You {SP, $276,240}, by Tactical Cat) was let go at 6-1 as the less fancied of a pair of juvenile runners saddled by a trainer whose prowess with young horses--especially on turf--is well documented, and he proved to be the "right" Ward while providing his first-crop sire (by Uncle Mo) with a second winner and first on the lawn. Irad Ortiz, Jr. had ridden Outadore's stablemate River Tiber (War Front)  to a fourth-place run on debut at...

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Brown Wins Fifth Straight Belmont Spring Title

Chad Brown notched 23 wins to finish as the leading trainer at the Belmont spring/summer meet for the fifth consecutive time and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. posted 34 victories to lead all riders as the 25-day meet concluded Sunday at Belmont Park. Klaravich Stables led all owners with 13 wins, outpacing second-place finisher Michael Dubb, who had seven victories. "I'm really proud of our team. We had a late start to the year and it was frustrating for everybody--the staff, the owners, everybody involved," Brown said. "Our team held it...

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After 80-Day Absence, New York Racing Shines Again

The race was just a $20,000 maiden claimer, but the importance of the moment was not lost on Belmont track announcer John Imbriale, who welcomed racing back to New York Wednesday. "We can finally say...they're off and running at New York's Belmont Park," Imbriale called out as the field burst from the gate. And as Star of the West (Flashback) crossed the wire to win the opener, Imbriale once again recognized that this race was something special. "It's now official. New York sports is back and beautiful Belmont Park is...

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Mike Smith: Punishment Does Not Fit Crime

Back home in California after finishing second aboard Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) in the inaugural running of the $20-million Saudi Cup, jockey Mike Smith said the penalties handed down to him for excessive use of the whip were "absurd." Under rules enacted just before the running of the Saudi Cup card, riders were limited to striking a horse no more than 10 times during a race. The Saudi stewards ruled that Smith struck Midnight Bisou 14 times and also was guilty of hitting his mount with no regard for the...

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Report: Smith Hit With Severe Penalties for Saudi Cup Whip Overuse

According to a report in the Racing Post, jockey Mike Smith has been given a nine-day suspension and fined more than $200,000 for excessive use of the whip aboard Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute), the runner-up in Saturday's Saudi Cup. The fine is the largest ever handed down to a jockey for a riding infraction. Under Saudi racing rules covering the Feb. 28 and Feb. 29 cards, a jockey is permitted to strike a horse no more than 10 times. The stewards ruled that Smith struck Midnight Bisou 14 times. He...

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The Week in Review: Maximum Security Will Make his Case for Superstardom

When Maximum Security (New Year's Day) touched down in Saudi Arabia last week, a new chapter began for the horse that had a star-crossed 2019. On Saturday, he will face the stiffest challenge of his career in the inaugural running of the $20-million Saudi Cup. It's a race that will answer a lot of questions, but don't be surprised if the end result is an emphatic win from last year's 3-year-old male champion. While Maximum Security had a strong 3-year-old campaign, his year was remembered more for what didn't happen...

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Tonalist’s Shape a First Graded Winner for Tonalist

Tonalist's Shape kept her unbeaten record intact and trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.'s hot streak going while becoming her sire (by Tapit)'s first graded winner. The chestnut belied 19-1 odds to take her Sept. 28 unveiling here while in the barn of trainer Juan Avila and carrying the colors of Sabana Racing Stable Corp. The phone started to ring after that, and she resurfaced with her current connections to take a Gulfstream Park West optional claimer by daylight Oct. 20. Tonalist's Shape aired by nine lengths and earned a strong 89...

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Mucho Gusto Too Tough in Pegasus World Cup

Following the high-profile defections of Omaha Beach (War Front) and Spun to Run (Hard Spun) earlier this week, the GI Runhappy Pegasus World Cup appeared to be a wide-open affair. But apparently nobody told Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man). Sent off the 3-1 second choice behind Higher Power (Medaglia d'Oro), who went off at 5-2, Mucho Gusto took over with consummate ease, strolling home an 4 1/2-length winner over pacesetting Mr Freeze (To Honor and Serve). It was 3/4 of a length farther back to War Story (Nothern Afleet). "Those...

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Flying High in the Pegasus

The defections of two of favorites Omaha Beach (War Front) and Spun to Run (Hard Spun) saw Saturday's GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. lose some of its star appeal, however, a solid group of graded stakes winners will try and collect the lion's share of the $3-million purse. Trainer John Sadler, who finished third in this race last season with 2018 Champion Older Horse Accelerate in 2019, offers the talented but at times unlucky Higher Power (Medaglia d'Oro), who breaks from post 6. Knocking on the door to bigger...

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Ortiz, Jr. Defends as Outstanding Jockey

Irad Ortiz, Jr. rode four Breeders' Cup winners at the 2019 World Championships--including GI Longines Turf hero and Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar (Giant's Causeway), who he was aboard for all six of his wins from six tries last term. Ortiz's other Breeders' Cup winners were GI Longines Classic winner Vino Rosso (Curlin), GI Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile victor Spun to Run (Hard Spun) and GII Juvenile Turf Sprint scorer Four Wheel Drive (American Pharoah). Ortiz won 35 graded stakes in 2019, including 11 at the highest...

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Connections of Bricks and Mortar Win Eclipse Awards of Their Own

The connections of newly crowned champion Bricks and Mortar all took home Eclipse Awards of their own in their respective categories. Irad Ortiz, Jr. continued the domination of he and his brother with a second-straight Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey of 2019. The 27-year-old native of Puerto Rico took home the hardware last year, following in the footsteps of his younger brother Jose, who received the award for his 2017 season. The Ortiz brothers completed the North American exacta in 2019 by money won--Irad's mounts racked up $34,109,019 with 324...

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