New Kentuckian Jose Ortiz bags win No. 3,000

Churchill Downs update by Kevin Kerstein (Coady Media photo of Jose Ortiz wins #3,000 aboard Save the Trees)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sunday, June 9, 2024) – Jockey Jose Ortiz notched his 3,000th-career victory Sunday at Churchill Downs aboard Skychai RacingParadise Farms Corp., David Staudacher and Hot Pink Stable’s Save the Trees in Race 3.

          Ortiz, who recently moved his tack to Kentucky, has perennially been one of the top jockeys in North America having recorded wins in the 2022 Preakness Stakes (GI) aboard Early Voting and 2017 Belmont Stakes (GI) aboard Tapwrit to go along with five Breeders’ Cup victories.

          “I’d say the top wins that come to mind throughout my career have been in the Triple Crown races – those have been pretty special,” Ortiz said. “It’s hard to narrow it down. I’ve ridden so many talented horses for so many great people. It is such a great accomplishment to win this many races.”

Ortiz rode Friday and Saturday at the Belmont at Saratoga meet in New York, winning Friday’s Grade 1 New York on Didia for Keeneland-based trainer Ignacio Correas IV and Saturday’s Grade 3 Poker aboard Ice Chocolat for Mark Casse.

Coady Media photo

          Ortiz, 30, is a native of Puerto Rico and comes from a horse racing-centric family. His brother, Irad, is also among the leading riders in North America. 

          Ortiz began his career as a jockey in his native country but relocated to the U.S. in 2012 where he began riding in New York. Five years later, Ortiz was awarded with the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. Recently, Ortiz moved to Kentucky with his wife, retired jockey Taylor Rice Ortiz, and their three young children LeilaniDerekand Nikolai

          “Winning races here in Kentucky or New York is great but we chose to move circuits this year to raise our children in a more rural setting,” Ortiz said. “I talked to my agent (Steve Rushing) and he thought my business would continue to do well in Kentucky and we made the move this year. It’s been great to be here at Churchill Downs.”

          According to Equibase, Ortiz is listed with 3,000 wins in North America but, due to incomplete records in Puerto Rico, any victories he recorded there are not included in the total.

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.