2018 Turf Jockey of the Year – Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Grapevine, Texas (Monday, Dec. 10, 2018) – Irad Ortiz, Jr., the current leading jockey by earnings and wins in 2018, will also be acknowledged for his skills on the turf course as the 2018 Turf Jockey of the Year, sponsored by Duralock. The award is voted on by a panel of experts who select a Jockey of the Week for JockeyTalk360.com based on weekly riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
Voters respected the strong turf racing statistics and accomplishments of Irad Ortiz, Jr. on the ballot for 2018 turf jockeys. Ortiz won 165 turf races in 2018 with a win rate of 23%, and finished in the top three on 57% of his mounts in turf races. He earned $12.6 million in turf races this year.
Ortiz won 35 turf stakes races, 17 of which were graded, and earned $6.8 million in turf stakes races. His win rate in turf stakes was 27%, and he finished in the money in 60% of his turf starts.
Ortiz won 17 graded turf stakes with 13 different horses over the course of 2018, including four Grade 1 events. Among his stakes victories in 2018 were the Arlington Million (G1) with Robert Bruce and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) with Newspaperofrecord, with whom he also teamed up to win the Miss Grillo Stakes (G2). Ortiz won three graded stakes with Fourstar Crook, including the Flower Bowl Stakes (G1), and brought 9-year-old fan favorite Hogy to the winner’s circle in the Canadian Turf Stakes (G3).
Considering both turf and dirt races in 2018, Ortiz leads all North American jockeys by earnings, with $27,049,567 and by wins, with 327 victories in 1,535 starts.
2018 brought several career accomplishments for Ortiz, on and off the turf. He won his 2,000th career race, picked up riding titles at Saratoga and Belmont during the spring meet, and was honored with the Shoemaker Award for Outstanding Jockey at the Breeders’ Cup, for his wins in the Juvenile Fillies Turf and Filly and Mare Sprint, as well as placing in five additional races.
In 2017, Ortiz led all North American jockeys by number of wins and was third by total earnings, which led to an Eclipse Award nomination for Outstanding Jockey. His brother, Jose Ortiz, was the earnings leader for the year and won the 2017 award.
Statistics used for Turf Jockey of the Year are from January 1 through November 25, 2018.
Duralock provides quality fencing solutions in the racing and equestrian world. The built-in safety features of their equestrian fencing systems make Duralock the natural choice for any organization with a commitment to horse and rider safety. Clients include prestigious racecourses as well as racehorse trainers, point-to-points, showgrounds and riding schools.
Established in 1991, Duralock reaches customers across Europe, the United States, the Middle East, Japan, Australia, Russia and the Philippines from their United Kingdom headquarters.
JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockeys’ Guild Turf Jockey of the Year is selected by a vote of representatives of TVG, America’s Best Racing, The Daily Racing Form, Equibase, Horse Racing Nation, The Jockeys’ Guild, The Paulick Report, The Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, Turf Publicists of America and Racing Stats & Info on Twitter.
2017 Turf Jockey of the Year – Javier Castellano
Javier Castellano — whose 20 graded stakes and 33 stakes overall on grass lead North America — is the recipient of JockeyTalk360.com‘s 2017 Turf Jockey of the Year Award, presented by the performance-fencing company Duralock.
Castellano, who was voted into racing’s Hall of Fame this year, captured five Grade 1 races in New York, Kentucky and California, including Rushing Fall in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and New Money Honey in the $1 million Belmont Oaks. He also won Belmont’s Longines Just a Game on Antonoe, Santa Anita’s Frank E. Kilroe Mile on Bal a Bali and Keeneland’s Maker’s 46 Mile aboard American Patriot.
Castellano grew up in a racing family in Venezuela, moving to the United States in 1997, the year after he started riding. He has won the Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding jockey the past four years. His $294 million in purses rank No. 5 all time and are right on the heels of No. 4 Jerry Bailey and No. 3 Pat Day.
2016 Turf Jockey of the Year – Florent Geroux
Florent Geroux won last year’s Breakthrough Jockey award (formerly known as Most Improved) and has only moved up from there in a 2016 where he will win more than 200 races and $17 million in purses. While adept on any surface, Geroux assembled a strong record on turf, where his 29 stakes and 20 graded stakes lead North America in 2016. Geroux’s 469 turf mounts had won 98 races while earning $8.5 million through Dec. 7, including Grade I triumphs on Victory to Victory, World Approval, Beach Patrol, Al’s Gal, Sea Calisi and Catch a Glimpse. He won five grass stakes on Da Big Hoss while shipping to big races around the country and Canada from his Kentucky-Saratoga-New Orleans circuit. Geroux’s turf prowess was on full display on the Arlington Million card, when he won three Grade I races, and during Kentucky Downs’ all-grass meet, when he repeated as riding champion and won five of the boutique meet’s 12 stakes.
“It’s truly an honor for Florent to receive the inaugural best Turf Jockey award from JockeyTalk360,” said Doug Bredar, Geroux’s agent. “Certainly 2016 has been a very special year for us.”