Ortiz, Brown, Dubb capture year-end NYRA titles
by Brian Bohl
Jose Ortiz earned his first year-end riding crown, Chad Brown notched his second consecutive training title and Michael Dubb was the leading owner for a third straight year on the New York Racing Association's circuit in 2016.
Ortiz, who leads all North American jockeys by wins in the year, registered 319 wins and compiled earnings of more than $20 million in 2016 across Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.
The 23-year-old won his first-ever Angel Cordero, Jr. riding crown, leading all jockeys with 65 wins during the Saratoga meet, adding to a year in which he also captured the 2015-16 inner track championship as well as the 19-day spring meet at the Big A. The Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico native followed that effort by riding 78 winners and earning more than $5.5 million to win the Belmont spring/summer meet title.
Three of Ortiz's four Grade 1 wins in 2016 came on NYRA tracks, piloting Off the Tracks to victory in the Mother Goose, Practical Joke in the Hopeful and Ectot in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. His ride aboard Oscar Performance in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf resulted in his first career Breeders' Cup victory on November 4 at Santa Anita Park.
Jose's brother, Irad Ortiz, Jr., posted 295 wins to come in second. The Ortiz brothers were the only two jockeys with more than 200 wins on the NYRA circuit in 2016.
Brown, 38, saddled 135 winners, which was four more than his 2015 campaign in which he won his first year-end training title. Brown's horses earned more than $15 million and his runners finished in the money an impressive 59.2 percent of all starts.
Eight of Brown's 12 Grade 1 wins in 2016 came in New York. The Mechanicville, New York native won three straight meet titles overall, taking home the honors at the Saratoga, Belmont spring/summer and Belmont fall meets.
Among Brown's NYRA Grade 1 winners were Flintshire, who won the Sword Dancer and Manhattan, Lady Eli in the Flower Bowl, Dacita in the Diana, Connect in the Cigar Mile, Practical Joke in the Champagne, Wake Forest in the Man o' War and Practical Joke in the Hopeful.
Rudy Rodriguez finished second with 127 wins and Todd Pletcher third at 112, marking the only three trainers to crack triple digits in wins this year.
Dubb's 78 winners put him atop the year-end owner standings for the fifth time and the third a row after having 58 winners in 2015. He previously won in 2015, 2014, 2012 and 2010.