Irad Ortiz

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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Smith, Ortiz, Jr. Appeals Heard in Saudi

The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia has rejected the appeals brought by jockey Mike Smith against the severity and length of suspensions handed down by stewards for a pair of infractions on the Saudi Cup program Feb. 29. The Technical Committee of the JCSA did agree to allow the local authority of the appellant to determine the dates of the suspension. Smith received two suspensions totaling 11 race days on the Saudi Cup program Feb. 29. He was handed a two-day ban for failing to weigh in following a fifth-place...

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Pletcher, Ortiz Claim Gulfstream Titles

Todd Pletcher, who had a string of 15 straight titles ended last year, returned to the top of the Gulfstream Park trainer's standings when the Championship Meet concluded in Hallandale Sunday. Pletcher finished with a seven-win cushion over Mike Maker, 48-41. "We had a good run, missed it last year, but happy to get it back this year. I'm proud of the whole team. They did a great job," Pletcher said. "We were able to have a lot of maiden winners so, hopefully, we can continue to develop some of...

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Tapit's New York Central Swoops Late In Saudia Sprint Cup

It looked for much of the stretch run of the six-furlong Saudia Sprint Cup as if it would be a double for Speightstown and Japan as Matera Sky stole a big lead after setting the pace, but as that one got extremely leg weary in the final furlong it was the charging New York Central (Tapit) who capitalized, nailing him in the shadow of the wire to win by a head as another runner formerly based in America, Gladiator King (Curlin), made up ground to be third. New York Central...

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Bricks and Mortar Named Horse of the Year

Having been nursed back to health over much of calendar year 2018 after being treated for a potentially career-ending case of stringhalt, Bricks and Mortar was an unstoppable force last year and became the first Horse of the Year for trainer Chad Brown Thursday evening. He was also a unanimous winner of the Eclipse Award for older turf male, the third in five years for a Brown trainee (Big Blue Kitten, 2015; Flintshire {GB}, 2016). Underfoot conditions were of no concern to the $200,000 Keeneland September graduate last season, as...

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