By Myra Lewyn for The Blood-Horse

Photo: Coglianese Photos/NYRA

Photo: Coglianese Photos/NYRA

Irad Ortiz Jr., currently second nationally in money won and fourth in victories, tallied his 1,000th North American win Nov. 22 when piloting Michael Dubb’s Island Therapy to victory in the fifth race at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Originally from Trujillo Alto in Puerto Rico, where he won 83 races, Ortiz is a graduate of that country’s Escuela Vocacional Hípica, a school for prospective jockeys. His grandfather, also named Irad Ortiz, was a jockey, and so is his uncle, Ivan Ortiz, and brother, Jose Ortiz.
Ortiz brought the Rudy Rodriguez-trained Island Therapy from last of 10 in the mile turf contest for $40,000 claimers and was up in the final strides to get the win. The milestone triumph was the first of four wins on Sunday’s card for the 23-year-old rider.
This year, Ortiz has 269 wins, including the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) with Stephanie’s Kitten, and more than $21.5 million in purse earnings. He leads Aqueduct jockeys at the current meet, with 19 wins.