Todd Pletcher, Jose Ortiz, Michael Dubb take Saratoga meet titles
by NYRA Press Office
The race for top trainer, jockey and owner came down to the wire at Saratoga Race Course on 2017, with Todd Pletcher capturing his 13th H. Allen Jerkens trainer title, Jose Ortiz winning his second Angel Cordero Jr. riding title in a row, and Michael Dubb and his various partnerships taking his fourth straight owners title in the final day at the Spa.
Pletcher finished the meet with 40 wins, tying the record set last year by Chad Brown, who finished second in this year's standings with 39 wins.
"I've never won 40 and it's hard to do. I told Chad last year when he did it that it was a hell of an accomplishment. Those guys are tough to beat. We exceeded expectations and I'm proud of it," Pletcher said.
Among Pletcher's wins were the Grade 2 Amsterdam and the Grade 2 Adirondack.
"The whole team put a lot of work into it. I'm proud of the whole staff. Anthony Sciametta at Monmouth sent up winners and Byron Hughes from Belmont sent up winners. It was a big effort by everyone."
Linda Rice finished third with 16 wins.
In the first race of the Saratoga meet, Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard Indycott dueled down the stretch with his brother Jose Ortiz aboard River Date, winning by three-quarters of a length. The duel foreshadowed the competition the two would have for the whole meet. While Jose Ortiz lost that race, he won the war for leading jockey, capturing his second straight Saratoga title with 58 wins.
"Feels great. Just being able to be here and win races here is huge. To win leading rider for a second year in a row, I feel blessed and I just thank all trainers and owners that give me an opportunity to ride the horses and my agent, who has done a great job and worked really hard for me. The owners, the trainers, all the people on the backstretch, the grooms, exercise riders, hot walkers, without them I couldn't do this," Ortiz said.
Victories in the Grade 1 Alabama, the Grade 1 Longines Test, and the Grade 2 Honorable Miss highlighted the meet for Jose Ortiz, who also collected five wins in one day on August 21.
"The Alabama and the Test were really good races to win. I had never won them before, so I was very happy."
Jose's brother Irad Ortiz, Jr. finished second with 53 wins. John Velazquez was third with 46 wins.
Owner Michael Dubb and his various partnerships won the owners title for the fourth straight year. He had 15 winners this summer. Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence were second with 13 winners. Repole Stable and Midwest Thoroughbreds tied for third with nine victories.