Any way voters looked at the ballot, Irad Ortiz, Jr. was on top of the standings for all North American jockeys last week and was a clear choice for Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for February 26 – March 4, 2018. 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.
Irad Ortiz, Jr pulled off a Jockey of the Week double; having earned the honor for the week ending February 25 after leading by wins and earnings, Ortiz returned the following week with another strong set of performances and statistics on the weekly ballot.
Ortiz led by stakes wins and earnings last week, earning $460,330 in seven stakes starts. He was one of just three jockeys to win more than one stakes race last week, and he was the only jockey to win three stakes. In addition, each of his stakes wins was in a graded event.
Ortiz pulled the upset in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) with Promises Fulfilled ($38.40) for Dale Romans in the feature race on the Saturday card at Gulfstream. Ortiz and Promises Fulfilled finished over two lengths ahead of Luis Saez and Strike Power, while Jose Ortiz and 2017 Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Good Magic were third.
Ortiz brought fan favorite Hogy ($13.00) home in the $150,000 Canadian Turf Stakes (G3). Ortiz and the 9-year-old gelding closed well and drew off by nearly four lengths for the win in Hogy’s fiftieth career start.
Earlier on the card, Ortiz won the $150,000 The Very One Stakes (G3) with Holy Helena ($9.40), again defeating brother Jose and the post-time favorite, Daring Duchess.
Ortiz was not just well-mounted in stakes races, he won at every level and led all North American jockeys by total earnings with $620,730 in earnings last week. Ortiz moved from fifth to fourth among all North America jockeys for total earnings year to date, with over $3.2 million earned in 2018.
As if that was not enough, Ortiz also notched a five-win day at Gulfstream on Saturday, winning two claiming races in addition to his three stakes victories.
The only metric by which Ortiz did not lead was total wins. Timothy Thornton posted more victories than any other North American jockey last week: 10 in just 33 starts. Ortiz was third with eight wins in 35 starts for a win rate of 23%, and finished in the money on 63% of his mounts. In 2018, he has won 69 of his 300 starts; lifetime, he is 1,817 for 10,051.