Jockey Jose Ortiz capped a stellar week with a sensational day, riding five winners from eight mounts Monday at Saratoga.
None of Ortiz’s mounts was favored. He won the third race on Marnesia Big Girl ($7.30), the fourth with Tres Charmant ($12) and the fifth on California Swing ($8.40). After finishing fifth in the sixth, Ortiz won the seventh on Uncle Sigh ($11.40) and, after a third-place finish on Papa Shot in the Evan Shipman, he won the nightcap on Tusk ($17.20) with a beautiful ride in which he rallied through an opening along the rail.
“It’s special everywhere, but here it’s tough, very tough,” Ortiz said of winning five races on a single Saratoga card, something he did last Sept. 3.
“A lot of good jockeys, a lot of good trainers; good horses that if you get into just a little bit of trouble in the race you get beat. There are just a few races where the winner is going to be much the best.”
From Aug. 14 through Monday, Ortiz rode 17 winners - including Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama aboard Elate - and has opened up a 46-37 advantage over his brother Irad Ortiz Jr., for leading rider at this meet. Jose Ortiz won last year’s title.
“Obviously, I want to win the title and the Eclipse Award, of course,” Ortiz said. “But now I’ll concentrate on the Travers and to win the title here.”
Ortiz will ride Tapwrit, the Belmont Stakes winner, in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers where he will face Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness winner Cloud Computing.
“Working great,” Ortiz said of Tapwrit. “Can’t be better.”