Weekly jockey review, 9/5/18; Irad Ortiz Jr., Drayden Van Dyke sew up summer riding titles

The curtain has come down on Saratoga and Del Mar’s iconic summer meets. We’ll review the action from the final stanza at both venues here. Remember you can still play FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game as racing shifts to Belmont and Los Alamitos.


Irad Ortiz Jr., who took a meet-high 268 mounts, led all riders with 52 wins at Saratoga. He was also tops in earnings at just over $4.55 million. Ortiz won seven races last week, including the Bernard Baruch on closing day with longshot Qurbaan, to secure the Angel Cordero Award for top jockey at “The Spa.”

Javier Castellano had a remarkable final week, winning 10 times to get to 43 for the meet. He won four straight races on Saturday (Races 5 through 8) after taking Wednesday’s With Anticipation (Opry) and Thursday’s P.G. Johnson (Dogtag).

Jose Ortiz won nine times last week but had to settle for third at 42 victories. Chief among those scores was Friday’s Lucky Coin Stakes (Extravagant Kid).

Manny Franco won four times last week, including the Glens Falls atop Lady Montdore on Saturday, to boost his meet total to 35. He finished in fourth for the meet, two clear of Luis Saez, who won seven races over the final six racing days.

Joel Rosario ended an up-and-down Saratoga season with a five-win performance. He bagged three straight graded stakes on Saturday, taking the Saranac (Raging Bull), Spinaway (Sippican Harbor) and Woodward (Yoshida). Rosario finished in sixth with 27 victories.

Racing on the NYRA circuit returns to Belmont on Friday.

Del Mar

Drayden Van Dyke prevailed over Flavien Prat, 42-37, in what turned into a match race over the last few weeks at Del Mar. Van Dyke won nine over the last six racing days, including the Del Mar Derby aboard Ride a Comet. He also snared the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf on Monday with Summering.

Prat won eight during Del Mar’s final stanza, including Saturday’s John C. Mabee (Vasilika) and Del Mar Debutante (Bellafina). He was a narrow second to Van Dyke in earnings as well as wins ($2.75 million to $2.52 million).

Tyler Baze was a distant third at 25 wins for the meet despite taking the most mounts. He won just twice in the final days, but scored in Wednesday’s Generous Portion Stakes atop Creative Instinct.

Apprentices Assael Espinoza and Heriberto Figueroa finished in close proximity, with the former prevailing in the fight for fourth, 21-19. Both figure to be prominent in the leading rider battle at the September Los Al meet, which starts on Thursday.

Mario Gutierrez cooled off after a hot start to the meet, but a strong final stanza saw him win six races. That included the final Grade I of the meet, the Del Mar Futurity, aboard Game Winner. He also won Friday’s I’m Smokin Stakes atop Listing.

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