Irad Ortiz, Jr. capped off his domination of the jockey standings during Aqueduct Racetrack's 2016-17 inner-track meet with a five-win day on Sunday's closing day, while trainer Rudy Rodriguez and owner David Jacobson proved uncatchable as the runaway winners of their respective titles.
Well-positioned atop the jockey's standings going into the final card of the Big A's winter meet with a 15-win lead over Manny Franco, Ortiz did not rest on his laurels. Instead, the 24-year-old native of Puerto Rico romped through the stretch run to register five victories on closing day.
Ortiz kicked off his win streak with a natural hat trick as My Ekati Cat (No. 5, $6.20), Readthebyline (No. 1, $3), and Control Group (No. 9, $3.60) all delivered as the post-time favorites in Races 4-6. Ortiz, without a mount in Race 7, picked up where he left off in Race 8, finding the winner's circle with Smile Big (No. 5, $3.30) and took the final race on the inner track with Melodramatic Miss (No. 8, $7.80).
"I had a very good day," said Ortiz. "I have to thank God as well as all the trainers and owners who give me an opportunity, also my agent who is also doing a great job.
"It's a great accomplishment. I've been fortunate to be put on a lot of winners by owners and trainers this meet," he continued. "I do my work and they give me good chances with good horses so thanks to them."
Overall, Ortiz rode 76 winners from 281 mounts for more than $3.5 million in purse earnings with a 27% win rate during the inner-track meet, which began December 7. The title is the 11th on the NYRA circuit for the jockey.
Among Ortiz's victories on the inner track were back-to-back stakes wins aboard Grade 2 Gazelle-bound Yorkiepoo Princess, who won the Ruthless on January 14 and the Busher February 25. Ortiz. also piloted Stallwalkin' Dude to a two-length victory over Green Gratto in the Gravesend on December 18. Ortiz.
Manny Franco finished second in the standings with 56 winners from 332 mounts, while Kendrick Carmouche rounded out the top three with 53 wins from 269 mounts.