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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Saratoga Springs, August 25, 2022 —  Indeed, Irad Ortiz Jr. and Joel Rosario are famous and successful enough to be referred to by the first names. Recall that in the ‘90s when sports fans spoke of Michael, no one needed to wonder Michael Who?

It’s not unusual for Ortiz to be cited. His penchant for overly aggressive race riding has been well documented. Most top jockeys on any major circuit race-ride. It’s part of the. A good sports analogy would be college hoops to the NBA.

Rosario is very good at it but doesn’t really resort to it all that much. Either he’s loose leading or coming from the clouds it seems. When he needs to rally between rivals, he is far more patient than rough, more Pat Day than Angel Cordero Jr.

I saw neither incident that earned each a three-day suspension. The assumption is that the NYRA stewards acted appropriately when reviewing both incidences, which is a point aside, anyway.

Neither Ortiz Jr. nor Rosario appealed their suspensions. Joel’s infraction was that “Sassy Melissa came out at the sixteenth pole and bumped FontannaFredda ‘soundly’,” according to Equibase.

Irad’s performance officially sounded more egregious: “Nabokov tired through to the finish bumping Winit just inside the eighth pole before coming over again and getting a solid bump on that eased up rival a sixteenth out and headed him at the finish.”

It is important for racing that its officials sanction successful riders so that all jockeys receive the safety message loud and clear. No “Jordan Rules” spoken here.

In the main, race-riding–much of it on the rough side of ‘careless’–has become all too commonplace in today’s game. Safety for rider and horses must take precedence.

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One Response

  1. Rosario’s was really bad compared to how he usually conducts himself on the track. Irad is Irad so really not sure there is much more to say on his end at this point.

    The jockey’s race has gotten kind of interesting; not for the leading rider, but the battle for 2nd/3rd. Prat had the 4 win day and has been riding lights out. He’s now only 1 win behind Rosario for 3rd in the standings, which is a hell of an accomplishment considering he is still kind of working his way into NY. But now he is also within 6 of Luis Saez for 2nd. That is a lot of wins to make up with 8 cards left obviously, but if he could gain a couple more on Luis this weekend, it could be a fun fight for 2nd the final week.

    I think it has much larger implications as well; there are now enough people that flat out dislike Irad Ortiz Jr., that they might once again be looking for an excuse to vote for anyone else even though he is certainly the most deserving as of today. If Prat had a memorable run here to finish 2nd in the standings, and then has a good Aqueduct meet, and pulls a few wins on BC weekend, that Eclipse vote gets really interesting too.

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