Brown earns seventh consecutive Belmont spring/summer training title with record 47 wins; Ortiz, Jr. secures 19th riding title
by Mary Eddy
Trainer Chad Brown notched a record-extending seventh consecutive training title at the Belmont spring/summer meeting with 47 victories, the record for most wins earned by a trainer at a Belmont spring/summer meet. Irad Ortiz, Jr. secured the leading rider title with 48 wins while Michael Dubb paced all other owners with 16 wins. The Belmont spring/summer meet was conducted for 44 days from April 28 through July 10.
The previous training record of 44 victories, set by David Jacobson at the 56-day 2013 spring/summer meet, was broken when 3-year-old filly Demandsrespect graduated at fourth asking in a July 4 maiden special weight over the main track.
“My team should be very proud of themselves and proud of what they did,” Brown said of setting the meet record. “Obviously, it’s never been done and they deserve every bit of it.”
Brown’s successes at the meeting include 12 graded stakes victories, capped by a remarkable Belmont Stakes Racing Festival weekend when he scored four Grade 1 victories with Jack Christopher [Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun], Regal Glory [Longines Just a Game], Bleecker Street [New York] and Tribhuvan [Resorts World Casino Manhattan]. On Saturday, 3-year-old filly McKulick delivered a sparkling performance to win the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational, giving Brown his sixth win in that event.
Brown also saw Gerrymander assert herself into the sophomore filly division with a strong win in the Grade 2 Mother Goose and his fifth consecutive win in the Grade 2 Fort Marcy with L’Imperator. His other graded winners included Consumer Spending [Grade 2 Wonder Again], Search Results [Grade 2 Ruffian], Virginia Joy [Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay], Rougir [Grade 3 Beaugay] and Masen [Grade 3 Poker].
In total, Brown closed out the meet with a record of 153-47-30-22 and earnings of $5,776,633. He posted a win percentage of 30.72 and finished in-the-money at a 64.71 percent clip.
“This was a historic meet for me, my team, my clients and, most importantly, the horses, who do all the work,” said Brown. “I’m a very fortunate person to be around the horses, staff and owners. I’m so happy for all of them.”
Christophe Clement finished second with 33 wins and Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher finished third with 25.
The battle for leading jockey came down to the final day of the meet as Irad Ortiz, Jr. entered the card one win behind Dylan Davis. Ortiz, Jr. evened the score with a victory aboard Lady Yellen in Race 1 before coming away with a one-win advantage aboard First to Act in Race 5. With the top two riders slated to ride in two more races, Ortiz, Jr. clinched the title - his 19th on the NYRA circuit - with a thrilling finish in Race 7 aboard Queen Bourbon to post his 48th win of the meet.
“It feels great,” said Ortiz, Jr. “Honestly, we’ve been working so hard since the year started. Hard work, a lot of dedication. We’ve been out there every day that they ask for me. It feels good when you win a title. We love to win the meet; it’s not easy, but thank God we got it done today. Thanks to my agent Steve Rushing for doing an amazing job. It was great. Dylan had a great meet, also.”
Ortiz, Jr.’s meet was one to remember, scoring the second Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets victory of his career atop the Todd Pletcher-trained Mo Donegal. He was aboard for some of Chad Brown’s memorable victories as well, guiding Bleecker Street home in the Grade 1 New York and McKulick in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational on Saturday’s Stars and Stripes Racing Festival, which also saw him give a strong ride to Dynamic One to take the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap.
“What can I say? The Belmont Stakes was great,” Ortiz, Jr. said as he reflected on his successes. “Yesterday was great, Dynamic One and McKulick – she’s such a nice filly. I got on her when she was a 2-year-old and she was very impressive.”
In addition to the New York and Belmont Oaks, Ortiz, Jr. and Chad Brown teamed up to win the Grade 2 Ruffian with Search Results and Brown’s record-breaking win with Demandsrespect.
Ortiz, Jr. said he is honored to ride for Brown.
“He broke the record this year, so it’s something nobody will forget. It’s hard to win that many races,” said Ortiz, Jr. “He’s a great trainer and he knows what he’s doing with his horses. I’m happy for him and I’m happy he gave me the opportunity to ride those kinds of horses.”
Ortiz, Jr. closed out with meet with a record of 174-48-32-20 and total purse earnings of $5,149,496. He boasts a 27.59 win percentage and finished on-the-board in 57.47 percent of his starts.
Dylan Davis won the final race of the Belmont spring summer meet aboard Dream of a Day to finish with 47. The Manhasset native, who won his first NYRA riding title at the 2021-22 Aqueduct winter meet, saw stakes success when guiding Make Mischief to victory in the Critical Eye Handicap. Manny Franco finished third with 40 wins.
Owner Michael Dubb finished the meet with 16 victories, two ahead of Klaravich Stables, to secure the leading owner title. Dubb enjoyed graded stakes success in the Grade 3 Victory Ride on Saturday with Hot Peppers, who also won the Jersey Girl earlier in the meet.
Dubb completed the meeting with a 61-16-10-7 record, posting a 26.23 win percentage and in-the-money rate of 54.10 percent. He collected $1,424,821 in total purses.
Live racing resumes on Opening Day Thursday of the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course with a 10-race card, featuring the $135,000 Wilton in Race 7 and the Grade 3, $175,000 Schuylerville in Race 9. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
Saratoga Live will present daily coverage and analysis of the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Saratoga Race Course, and the best way to bet every race of the summer meet. Available to horse players nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.