Jockey Jose Ortiz achieved a career milestone when he rode Moonlight Song to a victory in the July 28th $100,000 John Morrissey Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. The win marked Ortiz’s 1,000th career victory. Ortiz has been riding since 2011.
“This means a lot. It’s a big goal in my career,” said Ortiz. “I’m just thankful. I want to thank every single owner and trainer who gave me the opportunity. My family, and my fiancée [Taylor Rice] who support me every day, my brother, who taught me a lot when I first started riding. Saratoga is the place to be in the summer, and I really love it. I’m very blessed I could do it here.”
The native of Puerto Rico, Ortiz began his U.S.-based rising in 2012 and has won an impressive six grade I races in his short career to date. The six grade I wins were in the 2013 Hopeful Stakes, the 2014 Delaware Handicap, the 2014 Beldame, the 2014 Frizette Stakes, the 2015 Carter Handicap, and the Mother Goose Stakes this year.
The 23-year-old Ortiz is female champion La Verdad’s regular rider and won three NYRA meet riding titles in a row. He also finished atop the 2015-2016 Aqueduct spring meet inner track standings. At the Belmont spring meet he dominated the competition, notching 78 wins, which was 21 wins more than that of second-place Irad Ortiz Jr., who happens to be his brother.