Irad Ortiz, Jr. earned his third year-end riding title, with Chad Brown securing his third consecutive training title on the New York Racing Association’s circuit in 2017. Leading owner Michael Dubb won his fourth straight year-end title.
Ortiz, 25, won 296 races for more than $19.7 million in purse earnings in 2017, achieved at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course. Among his accomplishments this year, the Puerto Rican native rode Lady Eli to victories in the Grade 1 Diana and the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at Saratoga, Diversify to a gate-to-wire score in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and New York-bred Bar of Gold to a 66-1 upset in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Along the way, Ortiz picked up individual riding titles Aqueduct’s inner track, spring and fall meets, as well as Belmont’s Fall Championship meet.
Manny Franco was second in the standings with 184 wins, while Jose Ortiz, Irad’s brother and leading rider at the Belmont spring/summer and Saratoga meets, was third with 181.
Brown, 39, saddled 148 winners, 27 ahead of his closest competitor, Rudy Rodriguez with 121. Linda Rice was third with 113 wins. Brown’s NYRA runners earned over $15.8 million.
Brown, the 2016 Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Trainer, picked up his sixth straight training title and his second Belmont spring/summer title. Six of Brown’s 16 Grade 1 wins in 2017 came in New York, including Practical Joke in the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial and Beach Patrol in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, in addition to Lady Eli’s three graded stakes wins. He also won his first Triple Crown race in 2017, conditioning Cloud Computing to an upset victory in the Preakness.
Dubb’s 72 winners put him atop the year-end owner standings for the sixth time in eight years. Dubb, who also won in 2014-2016, 2012 and 2010, closed the year with $4.9 million in purse earnings at NYRA tracks.