Jockey Jose Ortiz topped his four win day at Aqueduct on Saturday by winning five races the following day. It was those back-to-back big days at “The Big A” that helped him to being named this week’s Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for February 29th – March 6th. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
Ortiz, who won the track’s spring title a year ago, rode five winners on Aqueduct’s Sunday race card. The 22-year-old rider swept the early Pick 3 with Moondance Joy in the first race, Voided Contract in the second and Matt King Coal in the third. Returning to the winner’s circle a few races later, Jose rode Imslopokerodriguez to victory in the seventh race before ending his day with a win in the eighth race aboard Repent Twice.
Aqueduct’s leading rider in wins accomplished this feat just 24 hours after scoring four wins on Saturday’s Grade 3 Gotham day card at Aqueduct. That day was also a good one for his older brother Irad Ortiz Jr., who scored with a dominant win aboard Shagaf in the graded feature.
On his Sunday achievement, “It feels pretty great,” Ortiz said. “It’s the first time I’ve won five races in one day, so I’m happy today. I’ve got to keep doing what I’m doing. I won last year, so I want to win this year too.”
The spring meeting at Aqueduct finds the brothers first and second atop the rider standings with Jose now in front of by just three wins following another outstanding week of riding in New York.
Since their birth in Puerto Rico, both Jose and Irad were meant to be jockeys; this is what both boys wanted as far back as they can remember. Along with their grandfather, their Uncle Ivan was also a jockey in Puerto Rico and America. Their father, although not a jockey, took their passion seriously as well. He would put the boys on the bed, equip them with a helmet and a whip and make them ride against each other to the televised races from El Comandante.
Ortiz led all riders in wins for the week, winning 11 times from his 28 starters with two second place finishes and another three third placings with earnings of $430,770.
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 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.