Leading Jockey Irad Ortiz Voted 2018 Turf Jockey Of The Year

by | 12.10.2018 | 5:27pm
Irad Ortiz Jr. proudly wearing the flag of his native Puerto Rico at Saturday's Clásico del Caribe

Irad Ortiz, Jr., the current leading jockey by earnings and wins in 2018, will also be acknowledged for his skills on the turf course as the 2018 Turf Jockey of the Year, sponsored by Duralock. The award is voted on by a panel of 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.

Voters respected the strong turf racing statistics and accomplishments of Irad Ortiz, Jr. on the ballot for 2018 turf jockeys. Ortiz won 165 turf races in 2018 with a win rate of 23%, and finished in the top three on 57% of his mounts in turf races. He earned $12.6 million in turf races this year.

Ortiz won 35 turf stakes races, 17 of which were graded, and earned $6.8 million in turf stakes races. His win rate in turf stakes was 27%, and he finished in the money in 60% of his turf starts.

Ortiz won 17 graded turf stakes with 13 different horses over the course of 2018, including four Grade 1 events. Among his stakes victories in 2018 were the Arlington Million (G1) with Robert Bruce and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) with Newspaperofrecord, with whom he also teamed up to win the Miss Grillo Stakes (G2). Ortiz won three graded stakes with Fourstar Crook, including the Flower Bowl Stakes (G1), and brought 9-year-old fan favorite Hogy to the winner's circle in the Canadian Turf Stakes (G3).

Considering both turf and dirt races in 2018, Ortiz leads all North American jockeys by earnings, with $27,049,567 and by wins, with 327 victories in 1,535 starts.

2018 brought several career accomplishments for Ortiz, on and off the turf. He won his 2,000th career race, picked up riding titles at Saratoga and Belmont during the spring meet, and was honored with the Shoemaker Award for Outstanding Jockey at the Breeders' Cup, for his wins in the Juvenile Fillies Turf and Filly and Mare Sprint, as well as placing in five additional races.

In 2017, Ortiz led all North American jockeys by number of wins and was third by total earnings, which led to an Eclipse Award nomination for Outstanding Jockey. His brother, Jose Ortiz, was the earnings leader for the year and won the 2017 award.

Statistics used for Turf Jockey of the Year are from January 1 through November 25, 2018.

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