After winning three graded stakes during an extended weekend of Breeders’ Cup prep races, Irad Ortiz, Jr. was named the Shuffle Bean Coffee Jockey of the Week from October 3-10, 2016. 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.
On Saturday, Ortiz won two of the seven stakes scheduled at Belmont: the Grade 3, $500,000 Hill Prince Stakes aboard Camelot Kitten and the Grade 1, $500,000 Flower Bowl with Lady Eli. Ortiz is the regular rider for Lady Eli, who was sidelined with laminitis for over a year. Lady Eli received a rare ovation from the Belmont Park crowd as Ortiz led her into the winners’ circle for the first time since the two paired up to win the Belmont Oaks in 2015.
The Columbus Day holiday weekend included stakes at Santa Anita and Belmont on Monday. Ortiz rode Heart to Heart in a gate-to-wire victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Knickerbocker Stakes at Belmont, clinching his place at the top of the leaderboard by earnings for the week with over $1.3 million.
Last week, Ortiz led the North American jockey colony by stakes earnings, wins, graded stakes wins, and finished in the money on half of his mounts. Currently, he is the second leading jockey year-to-date by total earnings behind Javier Castellano. Ortiz’s brother, Jose Ortiz, is in third place.
Ortiz finished the week with 14 wins, 4 seconds, and 4 third place finishes for earnings of $1,318,408.
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 Shuffle Bean Coffee Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of 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, and Turf Publicists of America.