Brown, Ortiz, Jr., capture Saratoga meet titles
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Chad Brown’s record-setting effort led to his second H. Allen Jerkens award for the Saratoga meet’s top trainer, while jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. notched his second Angel Cordero, Jr. award for leading jockey as the 40-day meet concluded Monday, Labor Day, at the Spa.
Klaravich Stables was the meet’s leading owner with 21 victories and earnings of more than $1.429 million.
Brown set a meet record with 46 victories, shattering the previous record of 40 he first set in 2016 and Todd Pletcher tied in 2017. The Mechanicville, New York native posted six graded stakes wins during the Saratoga meet with earnings totaling more than $4.4 million, encompassing wins in the Grade 1 Longines Test, Grade 1 Diana, Grade 2 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa, Grade 2 Lake Placid, the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame and the Grade 3 Saranac.
Brown, the New York Racing’s Association’s leading trainer for the last three years from 2015-17, had more than double the wins than his next-closest competitor in Pletcher, who was second with 19 wins. Brown and Pletcher have won every Saratoga training title since 2010.
“It’s been an outstanding meet,” Brown said. “We’re just thankful for all the good fortune we’ve had. Saratoga always holds a special place in my heart being from the area. Being so up close with all the fans, friends and family all meet on a daily basis makes it extra special to win here. I’m just so proud of the horses that have shown up and ran so well for us. My staff of course, they deserve all the credit. They’re in here working 24-7 and making sure everything’s checked and prepared, which makes it easy for me coming to the barn every day.”
Brown and Ortiz, Jr. won their second consecutive individual meet titles, as the duo were the top trainer and jockey, respectively, in the Belmont Park spring/summer meet. Ortiz, Jr. ended the two-year reign of brother Jose Ortiz at Saratoga by registering 52 wins and earnings of more than $4.5 million. He outdistanced Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, whose 43 wins were second, in registering his first Saratoga crown since he won 57 in 2015.
Ortiz, Jr. piloted Diversify to victory in the Grade 1 Whitney on Aug. 4 while also riding Call Paul in a win in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on August 12. He capped his meet riding Qurbaan to a win in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch on Monday.
“I feel great. It’s so exciting,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “We worked really hard to win the title and now we can enjoy it. My agent, Steve Rushing, did such a great job and all the owners and trainers who gave me an opportunity. Without them it wouldn’t have been possible. I won on a lot of nice horses this summer. Diversify winning the Whitney was a top moment. but they were all special.”
Klaravich Stables ended Michael Dubb’s four-year reign as leading Saratoga owner, recording 21 wins, 17 runner-up finishes and eight third-place efforts from 57 starts, more than doubling the next-closest owner in Dubb, who had 10 wins. Headed by Seth Klarman, the stable’s meet highlight was the victory in the Test.