The only jockey to win multiple graded stakes last weekend, Irad Ortiz, Jr. topped the earnings leaderboard and was named Jockeys' Guild Jockey of the Week for December 11-17, 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.
With a pair of graded stakes victories on a relatively quiet Thoroughbred racing weekend, Ortiz was also the leading money earner for the week and had the second-most number of wins on his mounts at Gulfstream and Aqueduct. Ortiz leads the jockey standings by wins and earnings for the current meet at Aqueduct.
On Saturday, Ortiz shipped to Gulfstream to compete in four graded races, winning two and placing second in another. He won the $100,000 Rampart Stakes (G3) with Chad Brown-trainee Lewis Bay ($6.80), marking the filly's first start in over a year. Ortiz also won the final stakes of the day, the $100,000 My Charmer Stakes, with On Leave ($3.60) for Shug McGaughey. Ortiz finished second in the $100,000 Sugar Swirl (G3) with Bodacious Babefor trainer Jane Cibelli.
In addition to his stakes wins, Ortiz topped the standings among all North American jockeys by total earnings with $411,945 and was the second-leading rider by stakes earnings with $142,180. Ortiz is currently ranked third among all North America jockeys for total earnings year to date, with over $22.5 million earned in 2017. His lifetime earnings total now exceed $116 million.
Ortiz was the second-leading North American jockey by number of wins, with nine last week out of 25 starts. He had a win rate of 36% and was in the money on 56% of his mounts. In 2017, he has won 311 of his 1,455 starts; lifetime, he is 1,741 for 9,712.
Though Ortiz received the majority of the votes in this week's ballot, jockey Jose Zunino also collected support from voters after an impressive weekend at Portland Meadows. Zunino was the only North American jockey to win more than two stakes last weekend: the Lethal Grande Oregon Spring Championship with Delineator Express, the Oregon Hers Stakes with Furious Fire and the City of Roses Handicap with Winninginfashion.
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