OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Jockey Jose Ortiz won five stakes and Irad Ortiz, Jr. added two more on Saturday as the brothers dominated the action during the second Claiming Championships at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Featuring 10 starter stakes restricted to claiming horses, the Claiming Championships also saw trainers David Jacobson, Rudy Rodriguez, Danny Gargan and Bruce Levine share in the $700,000 in purse money with two wins apiece.
“Anytime you can win that many races, it’s great,” said Jose Ortiz. “All my horses ran good, they went perfect, I can’t complain. I’ve got a lot of support. I’m happy and when I’m happy, I ride good.”
In the day’s opener, the $55,000 Videogenic for fillies and mares 4-years-old and upward, post-time favorite Sweet On Smokey came from just off the pace and pulled clear to a 10-length score in her Big A debut. Ridden by Angel Arroyo and trained by Claudio Gonzalez, Sweet On Smokey completed the six furlongs in 1:11.81 and returned $4.20 for a $2 win bet.
Favored Rockford outkicked long shot Private Tale to the wire to win the $55,000 Kelly Kip by a length, giving Jose Ortiz his first victory of the afternoon. The Repole Stable color-bearer, trained by Bruce Levine, covered six furlongs in 1:12.45 and returned $4.40 to win as he extended his 2016 record to 2-1-0 from four starts.
Jose Ortiz made it two straight, piloting Sweetrayofsunshine to a front-running victory in the $70,000 Xtra Heat for filly and mare sprinters. Sweetrayofsunshine, making her second start for owner-trainer David Jacobson, paid $3.60 to win as the 4-5 favorite and completed the six furlongs in 1:12.33.
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. and trainer Rudy Rodriguez teamed up to take the $60,000 More To Tell, with Mr Palmer barreling four-wide into the stretch and going on to hit the wire 1 ½ lengths in front of Easy Comparison. The 6-year-old Pulpit gelding completed the mile in 1:38.51 and paid $5.30 to win.
In the $70,000 Peeping Tom, Repole Stable, Jose Ortiz and Bruce Levine took a second trip to the winner’s circle after Dad’z Laugh posted a front-running victory, completing the six furlongs in 1:12.39. The 6-year-old son of Black Mambo, claimed for $40,000 out of his last race, paid $5.70 to win.
Even-money favorite Royal Posse drove through an opening along the rail in the stretch and pulled away to a 3 ¾-length win in the afternoon’s richest race, the $90,000 Mr. Sinatra, giving trainer Rudy Rodriguez and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., their second win of the afternoon. Royal Posse, now 4-4-0 from eight starts since being claimed for owner Michael Dubb, completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.10. He returned $4 to win.
Odds-on Toledo Eddie, owned and trained by David Jacobson, made his Big A debut a winning one as he carried Jose Ortiz to victory in the $75,000 Stud Muffin. It was the fourth straight victory for the 7-year-old Mineshaft gelding, who was claimed for $20,000 in January at Santa Anita Park. Toledo Eddie, who ran the mile in 1:37.83, paid $3 to win.
The parade of favorites (and Ortiz brothers) was snapped in the $60,000 Sis City, with 45-1 Shakespearian Dream charging from last to first in the one-mile race for fillies and mares. Trained by Gary Sciacca and ridden by Jackie Davis, Shakespearian Dream returned $92.50 for a $2 win bet, and covered the mile in 1:40.43 for his first victory since October 2014 at Hawthorne.
In the afternoon’s penultimate race, Cerro outfinished Nubin Ridge to win the $85,000 Caixa Eletronica, covering the seven furlongs in 1:24.44. The Midwest Thoroughbreds color-bearer, ridden by Kendrick Carmouche and trained by Danny Gargan, returned $6 as he earned his second victory of the year from three starts.
Gargan and Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Nuffsaid Nuffsaid gave Jose Ortiz his fifth winner of the afternoon, taking over from Sun and Moon turning for home to win the $80,000 Karakorum Elektra for fillies and mares. It was Nuffsaid Nuffsaid’s first win of the year and first for her new connections, who claimed her for $32,000 in January. She completed the seven furlongs in 1:25.53 and returned $8.70 to win.