A flawless week, including leading the North American jockey standings and winning three stakes, led Jose Ortiz to be named Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for the week ending August 20, 2017. 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. Jockey of the Week is sponsored by Animal Element’s Foundation Detox and Product X Performance Enhancer.
Jose Ortiz did everything that was asked of him last week: he led the North American jockey standings by both total earnings and number of wins, and he was the only jockey in North America to win three stakes races, including one of the weekend’s feature Grade 1 events. Only Martin Garcia exceeded him by stakes earnings, picking up $600,000 for his win in the Pacific Classic (G1) with Collected over Ortiz’ $501,000.
Ortiz’ three stakes wins began on Wednesday with the $100,000 Bolton Landing Stakes. Ortiz was aboard the post-time favorite, March X Press ($6.80) but was forced to overcome traffic and check late in the race to earn the half-length victory for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Golconda Stables.
Saturday, Ortiz had a mount in the feature race on the Saratoga card and one of the most anticipated events in the 3-year-old filly and mare division, the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1). In their last out, Ortiz and Elate chased heavy favorite Abel Tasman but came up short as the runner-up in the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1). On Saturday, Ortiz guided Elate ($10.60) to her first Grade 1 win in the Alabama, defeating It Tiz Well by over five lengths as the lukewarm second favorite.
Ortiz was also aboard Elate in her maiden-breaking debut at Aqueduct in November 2016, in which she outran a full field of maiden special weight company by over 12 lengths. Elate is trained by Bill Mott for owners and breeders Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. She is by Medaglia d’Oro, out of the Distorted Humor mare Cheery.
Ortiz bookended the week with a win in the $100,000 Summer Colony Stakes on Sunday with Verve’s Tale ($3.70) for trainer Barclay Tagg and owner and breeder Charles Fipke.
With starts and wins on each day at Saratoga last week, Ortiz led all North American jockeys with 12 wins in 43 starts for a 28% win rate. He finished in the money on 63% of his mounts.
The leading jockey for earnings last week, Ortiz added $1,015,709 to his 2017 total, which now exceeds $18 million. In his career to date, Ortiz has earned over $90 million, and was the third leading jockey by earnings in 2016.
The Puerto Rico native began riding in 2012 and by 2016, he led all North American jockeys by number of wins and was a finalist for the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. 2016 also marked the year of his 1,000th milestone career win, at Saratoga, and he won the NYRA year-end riding title after accumulating 319 wins at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga over the course of the year.