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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

IN A PERIOD OF FIVE DAYS, IRAD ORTIZ JR. GOES FROM PENTHOUSE TO OUTHOUSE

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, June 15, 2022 — Apparently Thoroughbred racing truly is international and racing officials in Europe must stay on top of developments in America.

They must have known about the 30-day suspension for rough, careless riding or watch races regularly and wonder why Irad is allowed to race-rider to the outer edges of the envelope.

Some call it race-riding; others call it herding, or worse. In the old days, jockey bad boys was celebrated as heroes for their win at all costs attempt to win.

He has engaged in anything resembling the tactics used by both jockeys in the 1933 Kentucky Derby, the famed Brokers Tip and Head Play stretch duel dubbed “The Fighting Finish.”

The only thing Don Meade and Herb Fisher didn’t do to each other in the stretch that afternoon in Louisville was draw actual swords on each other. The head-on photo of the jockeys grabbing each other during the stretch drive is one of the sport’s most iconic. albeit infamous.

It’s not like that today, thankfully, as the safety of the horses and their riders have become paramount under the weight of public scrutiny and anti-racing activists.

But by virtually ubiquitous rule, riders are supposed to maintain a straight course leaving the starting gate before the battle for position ensues.

According to racing analysts on the TVG broadcast Wednesday morning, Ortiz veered across about five rivals soon after the start in the first race aboard well regarded Love Reigns, who was outfitted with blinkers for the occasion.

So maybe this wasn’t completely on Ortiz. Maybe a juvenile filly racing on foreign soil has to share some of the culpability.

But it appears the Ascot stewards deemed Ortiz’s actions so egregious that they slapped him with a five-day suspension within hours, actions that usually take 24 to 48 hours in the new world.

As of this posting, it is unknown whether or not Ortiz plans to appeal. Today’s ruling took place one day after Ortiz was unprepared for the start of a race in which his mount aboard another Wesley Ward trainee was all but eliminated.

Either way, there’s no place for race-riding-to-the-max in today’s game and Ortiz is far from the only culprit here.

The fault for that lies with American stewards in every jurisdiction who allow the game’s stars to play by the Jordan Rules, not the rules of racing.

Another Day of Classy Sport

Think I looked at the replay of the Queen’s Vase and changed my mind as to which horse won the photo every time. It turned out, thankfully, to be Eldar Eldarov, even if he was heavily overbet.

Feel badly for those who took a flyer on price shot Zachariah who lose by one of the dirtiest noses we’ve ever seen…

If you think New York jockeys corner the market on allowing speed horses alone on soft, loose leads, think again. But that’s what Ryan Moore did aboard favorite Bay Bridge.

And Frankie Dettori had his own Ortiz moment, forgetting to take the blinders off Lord North before leaving the starting gate, getting completely left at the post.

Cristian Demuro aboard Japanese Group 1 winner Shahryar, was racing lapped on three-time Group 1 winner State Of Rest but didn’t force the issue, and now he’s a four-time Group 1 performer on three continents.

Saffron Beach gave away weight to all seven of her rivals and gave them a good licking, too, taking the one-mile Duke of Cambridge with complete authority.

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