Riding Leave the Light On, Jose Ortiz pulled an upset on his brother in Aqueduct’s Grade II Remsen Stakes to be named the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week. The title goes to the week’s outstanding jockey in the opinion of a panel of industry experts. They looked at races run from November 24-30.
The Remsen Stakes was one of four races Ortiz won on Saturday, and he duplicated that number on Sunday. Overall, he won 13 races, with 3 seconds and 5 thirds from 35 starts, for earnings of $853,663 during the week. His 13 wins carried an average mutuel payoff of $16.02.
In the Remsen he took the early lead on 7-1 shot Leave the Light On, and never relinquished it, winning by half a length from his brother, Irad Ortiz Jr., on the favorite, Frosted.
“The way the track is playing today helped me a lot,” Jose Ortiz said. “We broke good and the plan was to take the lead like Chad (Brown told me. He was relaxed, I tried to slow him down as best I could, and when I asked him to go he was there.”
Originally from Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, where their grandfather and uncle were jockeys, the Ortiz brothers both attended for two years that country’s Escuela Vocacional Hipica, a school for prospective riders. Jose began riding at age 4 on a horse that was a Christmas gift from his parents.
After starting his riding career in Puerto Rico, Jose came to America in 2012 and began riding at Parx, He then joined his brother in New York where both brothers enjoyed swift success.
Jose booted home 98 winners from 697 mounts in 2012, earning more than $3 million. In 2013, he won 224 races from 1,398 starts and earned $12,635,662, good for No. 11 among North American jockeys.
This year, Jose and Irad became only the third siblings to ride against each other in the Kentucky Derby, and at ages 20 and 21, were the youngest ever to do so.
“Irad means a lot in my career,” Jose said. “He’s the guy who teaches me everything I know. I learned a lot in the jockey school in Puerto Rico. But when I came here, I was green, and Irad takes me to the next level.”
Jose Ortiz currently ranks third in wins and first in earnings at Aqueduct.
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 Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, the Daily Racing Form, Equibase, the Jockeys’ Guild, the Paulick Report, the Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America.