Commentary: ‘Uncalled For’ Jockeys’ Actions At Gulfstream ‘A Bad Look’ For Racing

by | 12.30.2019 | 3:00pm
Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Saturday's final race at Gulfstream Park caused a bit of social media uproar, based on the actions of jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes. The elder Ortiz brother, riding Carom, appeared to box in along the rail Paco Lopez on Shazier near the quarter pole, enabling his younger brother, Jose Ortiz, to win the $100,000 race by a length aboard the favored American Tattoo. Shazier finished second, and Carom ran third.

Jon Stettin opined on his website,, about the incident, which resulted in neither an objection or stewards' inquiry.

“Announcer Pete Aiello called it bumper cars out there,” wrote Stettin. “If Irad had not looked at Paco first, and then shifted his weight in the saddle towards the inside, you could make the argument his horse leaned in because he was tired. He did look over though, twice. That pretty much negates any incidental or accidental theories.”

According to the Equibase chart: “Shazier secured inside position and tracked the pacesetter (American Tattoo) through the early stages, raced off the top two leaders around the far turn, began bumping with Carom at the head of the lane, continued to make contact with rival then got by Carom and stayed on with response for second best. Carom raced in close contention and staked the pacesetter down the backstretch, edged up closer and raced in aim around the far turn, was put to a drive but could not reach equal terms for the lead, began bumping with Shazier at the head of the lane, continued to make contact with rival nearing the furlong marker then failed to advance position and finished well clear of the rest.”

“Irad is a great rider. So is his brother Jose,” Stettin clarified. “They are outstanding athletes and excellent at what they do. We at Past the Wire are big supporters of both of them. That was never the issue here, and the fact they are where they are, makes this type of thing a little worse. It is uncalled for. This was not a struggling rider fighting for a rare win to pay the bills. This was a leading money winner, Eclipse Award winner giving his brother an assist. That is a bad look for a game that needs as many good looks as it can get, especially now. If the Gulfstream Park stewards don't take a long hard look at this they would be negligent in their duties and condoning a bad practice and precedent.”


Watch the race replay here:


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