Irad Ortiz

Dynamic One Upsets the Curlin

Dynamic One earned his black-type badge with an upset of previously undefeated and heavily favored First Captain in the Curlin S. at Saratoga Friday, one of two local preps for the Aug. 28 GI Runhappy Travers S. Trailing the field early as longshot Snow House (Twirling Candy) clocked an opening splits of :23.63 and :47.34 with Beren (Weigelia) pressing from his outside hip and First Captain leading the second flight in fifth. Splitting rivals four wide turning for home with the field fanned out across the track, the chestnut moved...

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Caravel Captures the Caress

Caravel (Mizzen Mast) carried the colors of her breeder, trainer and now co-owner Elizabeth Merryman to six victories in her eight previous starts. Irad Ortiz climbed aboard Caravel sporting the silks of her new part-owner Bobby Flay for this Saratoga debut and she took her career to the next level with a decisive score in the GIII Caress S. Saturday. Backed to even-money favoritism off a pair of stakes wins, Caravel was away well from her rail draw and settled to track from third off pacesetting New York native Robin...

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Kitten's Joy Firster Gets Brown Off The Schneid at the Spa

6th-Saratoga, $100,000, Msw, 7-17, 2yo, 1 1/16mT, 1:45.57, gd, 3/4 length. PORTFOLIO COMPANY (c, 2, Kitten's Joy--Iteration, by Wild Again) snapped a 10-starter, 2 1/2-day 'skid' for the Chad Brown barn to get the job done at first asking. The $125,000 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearling Showcase graduate jumped alertly and wanted to overrace passing under the line for the first time, but ultimately settled not far from a walking early pace which saw the half go up in :50.86. Always traveling with the front-runner well within his sights, Portfolio Company was...

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Winner for Whitney a Fitting Way to Kick off Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - Four days short of two years after her death, Marylou Whitney managed to upstage Thursday's feel-good, season-opener at Saratoga Race Course. Pretty Birdie (Bird Song), bred and owned by Marylou Whitney Stables, struck just the right emotional note--bridging the past and the present--with her gate-to-wire victory in the 103rd running of the GIII Schuylerville S. "It's a little bittersweet. I wish she was here," Whitney's husband John Hendrickson said. "She would love this. Saratoga is open and she's won a race. Things are the way they...

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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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Irad Ortiz Promotion Raises $22,000 for PDJF

Jockeys and Jeans, in conjunction with Uncle Louie G's Italian Ices, an onsite Gulfstream Park vendor, raised over $22,000 for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund Saturday March 13 through sales of the masked Irad Ortiz bobbleheads at the track and online. Ortiz personally signed hundreds of the bobbleheads there, and Klaravich Stables, whose colors the bobblehead wears, made a substantial donation. "To say this promotion was a success would be an understatement," said Jockey and Jeans President Barry Pearl. "Irad Ortiz is not only a champion rider but a first-class...

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Colonel Liam Progressing Towards March On New Orleans

Robert and Lawana Low's GI Pegasus World Cup Turf hero Colonel Liam (Liam's Map) breezed a half-mile in :48.40 for trainer Todd Pletcher at Palm Beach Downs Feb. 20 and is penciled in for his next start in the GII Muniz Memorial S. going nine furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course at the Fair Grounds Mar. 20, the Lowses bloodstock advisor and racing manager Jacob West said Monday. The $50,000 Keeneland September yearling turned $1.2-million OBS April breezer got about three weeks off following his neck defeat of stablemate Largent...

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Never Surprised Looks to Remain Perfect in Kitten's Joy

Never Surprised (Constitution) looks to take his perfect record to three-for-three Saturday as he tries graded company for the first time in the GIII Kitten's Joy S. A decisive debut winner sprinting on the turf at Aqueduct Nov. 8, the $200,000 KEESEP buy wired the field when stretching out to two turns next out in that venue's Central Park S. 20 days later. Bred on the same Constitution--Tiznow cross as MGISW Tiz the Law, the bay is favored in this sophomore bow and has three-time Eclipse winner Irad Ortiz in...

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Third Shoemaker Award for Ortiz

Irad Ortiz, Jr. earned his third Bill Shoemaker Award following his two wins on Breeders' Cup championship weekend. Ortiz won the GI Sprint aboard Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect) and the GII Juvenile Turf Sprint with Golden Pal (Uncle Mo). The Shoemaker Award goes to the jockey who won the most races in the 14 World Championship races with the tiebreaker being a 10-3-1 point system for second- through fourth-place finishes. Ortiz was one of five jockeys to win two races during the championship weekend. In addition to his two victories, Ortiz...

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In an Unusual Year, Some Things Stay the Same at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Even without spectators on the grounds, the 152nd summer of racing in Saratoga produced a total betting handle of $702.5 million that was remarkably close to last year's record figure of $705.3 million. The daily average handle for the 40-day meet in 2020 was $17.6 million and the daily average handle for the weather-shortened 39-day meet in 2019 was $18.1 million. The season concluded Monday as quietly as it began July 16, with a program conducted without fans, in compliance with New York State's COVID-19 protocols...

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Op/Ed: Churchill Must Make Tough Call and Limit Derby to Local Jockeys

With Saratoga, Del Mar and a number of other tracks effectively eliminating jockeys from coming and going due to fears they will spread the coronavirus, attention now turns to Churchill Downs and the GI Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs President Kevin Flannery and his team are no doubt mulling whether or not they will put similar restrictions in place, effectively allowing only Kentucky-based riders to compete during the five days of racing. It's not exactly an easy call, but their number one priority has to be safety. And that means following...

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Irad Ortiz Returns to Riding Saturday

Leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr., returns to racing at Gulfstream Saturday for the first time since Mar. 19. The two-time Eclipse winner, who stopped riding due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has mounts in nine of 12 races Saturday, including favored Dr Post (Quality Road) in the Unbridled S. He is also named in seven of 11 races in Hallandale Sunday. "I'm very excited to be back riding," Ortiz said. "Thank God, I have the help from all the owners and trainers. A lot of people support me here, so I...

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