Jose Ortiz, Brown, Dubb win Belmont spring/summer meet titles
by Brian Bohl
Trainer Chad Brown won his second straight Belmont Park spring/summer individual meet title, while Jose Ortiz posted two victories on Sunday, closing day, to clinch the riding title for a second straight year.
Michael Dubb was the meet's leading owner with 18 victories and earnings of $1,121,189.
Brown, the New York Racing Association's leading trainer in 2015 and 2016, saddled 40 winners from 148 starts for an impressive 27.03 percentage, posting earnings of more than $4.9 million. His entries finished on the board more than 56 percent of the time.
Brown's Antonoe won the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game on Belmont Stakes Day, June 10, and New Money Honey, Sistercharlie and Uni finished 1-2-3 in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational as part of the Stars & Stripes Racing Festival on July 8. The spring/summer also saw success for Brown away from NYRA, as Cloud Computing captured the Grade 1 Preakness.
Ortiz tallied 65 wins with earnings of more than $6.5 million for the 54-day meet, outdistancing his brother, Irad Ortiz, Jr., who was second with 61 wins. Jose Ortiz, who captured his NYRA year-end riding crown in 2016, winning more than 19 percent of his mounts.
Ortiz won three Grade 1s in the meet, highlighted by his first Belmont Stakes win aboard Tapwrit. Earlier in the day, he piloted Ascend to victory in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan. Ortiz also rode Oscar Performance in an impressive effort in the Belmont Derby Invitational on Stars & Stripes Day.
Dubb's win total was eight more than the next closest owner, Paul Pompa, Jr. Dubb has finished atop NYRA's year-end owner standings three straight years and five overall, taking home top honors in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Thoroughbred action moves upstate to historic Saratoga Race Course on Friday for the summer meet, featuring 69 stakes worth a record $18.775 million in purses from July 21 through Labor Day, September 4. The meet is highlighted by the Grade 1, $1.2 million Whitney on August 5 and the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on August 26.