2018 Turf Jockey of the Year Irad Ortiz, Jr. has defended his title to earn Turf Jockey of the Year for 2019, sponsored by Duralock.
The award is voted on by a panel of industry experts who select a Jockey of the Week for JockeyTalk360.com based on weekly riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys' Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
Last year's recipient of the Duralock Turf Jockey of the Year, Ortiz posted strong statistics across the board on this year's ballot. He led by number of turf races won with 146 victories (a 21% win rate) and finished in the money on 56% of his turf starts.
In 2018, Ortiz earned $12.6 million in total across all turf starts. This year, he earned $12.6 million in turf stakes alone; his total earnings for all races on the turf exceeds $17.9 million.
Ortiz won 39 turf stakes, 23 of which were graded, and earned $11 million in graded events on the grass – increases across the board from his 2018 statistics.
Seven of his stakes victories were Grade 1 events, including five Grade 1 wins with the same horse: Bricks and Mortar. Together, the pair won the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1), the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes (G1), the Manhattan (G1), the Arlington Million (G1) and the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1). The duo also won the Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2).
Two more Grade 1 victories came aboard Decorated Invader in the Summer Stakes (G1) and Abscond in the Natalma Stakes (G1).
Ortiz won four Breeders' Cup races in 2019. In addition to the Breeders' Cup Turf, he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) with Four Wheel Drive, the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) with Vino Rosso and the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) with Spun to Run.
His performance over Breeders' Cup weekend resulted in Jockey of the Week honors, one of five times in 2019 that voters bestowed him with the weekly award.
After winning the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2018, Ortiz appears to be a strong candidate for 2019 as the current leading North American jockey both total earnings and number of wins; brother Jose Ortiz is in second place in both categories.
Through the first week of December, Ortiz is 292 for 1,387 and has 2,386 wins in 12,754 career starts. His 2019 earnings exceed $32.7 million with lifetime earnings of $177 million.
After finished second in the standings last year, Ortiz earned the riding title for the 2018-2019 Gulfstream Park Championship Meet.
Statistics used for Turf Jockey of the Year are from January 1 through November 11, 2019.
Previous winners of the Turf Jockey of the Year include:
2018: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
2017: Javier Castellano
2016: Florent Geroux
Duralock provides quality fencing solutions in the racing and equestrian world. The built-in safety features of their equestrian fencing systems make Duralock the natural choice for any organization with a commitment to horse and rider safety. Clients include prestigious racecourses as well as racehorse trainers, point-to-points, showgrounds and riding schools.
Established in 1991, Duralock reaches customers across Europe, the United States, the Middle East, Japan, Australia, Russia and the Philippines from their United Kingdom headquarters.
JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockeys' Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of TVG, America's Best Racing, The Daily Racing Form, Equibase, Horse Racing Nation, The Jockeys' Guild, The Paulick Report, The Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, Turf Publicists of America and Racing Stats & Info on Twitter.
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