Puerto Rican native Irad Ortiz, Jr. just notched his 1,000th North American victory Sunday at Aqueduct. The 23-year-old booted Rudy Rodriguez-trained Island Therapy across the wire first in the fifth race for the milestone. Two races later, he rode stablemate Frosty Margarita to the victory in the Key Cents Stakes for state-bred 2-year-old fillies.
Ortiz began his riding career in Puerto Rico, riding there for six months and winning 76 of 357 races for earnings of $453,845. His talent was noticed by NYRA Peace Officer Pito Rosa, who handed Ortiz's book over to agent Tony Micallef. His first North American race was at Belmont Park on June 17, 2011, and his first win was one week later aboard Millenium Jet.
The young jockey won his first Breeders' Cup race in 2014 aboard Lady Eli in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, and won another this year with Stephanie's Kitten in the Filly and Mare Turf. He is currently rated second in the nation by earnings with $21.42 million.
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