Good Magic currently stands at 12:1 odds of winning the Derby, but in the words of USA Today, he’s heading into the competition “largely overlooked.”
Good Magic will be ridden by jockey Jose Ortiz this year, who’s one of the most well-known jockeys in the world. Ortiz has been in the racing circuit since 2012, and this year, he’s ready to take home the title.
Read on to learn more about Jose Ortiz, Good Magic’s jockey:
1. He Earned the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2017
In 2014, Ortiz was the rider of the Kentucky Derby horse Samraat. Late that year, he nabbed third place in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
In 2016, he won his first win at the Breeder’s Cup as the leading jockey with the most wins.
Ortiz is originally from Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. His grandfather was a jockey, as was his uncle.
Growing up, Ortiz attended Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocacional Hipica; a school for prospective jockeys. He moved to America in 2012, with his first win taking place on March 21 at Aqueduct. The following year, Ortiz won an impressive 224 races, including a victory in the Hopeful Stakes.
2. He and His Brother Won the First Seven Races on Aqueduct’s Card
Jose and his brother, Irad, rose to fame together in 2013 after winning the first of seven races on Aqueduct’s card. Jose earned three wins. In the words of drf.com, the brothers are so close in age that they “looked like twins” in their younger years, and they always had a competitive spirit.
Speaking about the brothers’ talents as children, trainer Pito says, “They had God-given ability. It’s something that’s hard to explain. I knew the sky was the limit for them.”
The outlets continues, “When the time came for Irad to come to New York, in 2011, Pito coordinated his move and got him an agent. He did the same for Jose the following year. They are family. The three of them share a small apartment near Belmont Park; Pito occupies one bedroom and the boys the other. Pito is 54 but as animated as someone half his age. Everything he has learned watching jockeys during four decades spent in racing, he has poured into Irad and Jose.”
Since 2011, Irad has raked in more than $114 million working as a jockey. Jose has earned more than $98 million, cementing the brothers’ legacy on the track.
3. He Has Suffered His Fair Share of Injuries
Last year, Ortiz suffered an injury after falling in a race at Belmont Park. His agent told press at the time that the x-rays did not reveal any fractures. “He had a hard time putting weight on it when the doctor told him to,” his agent said. “It could be just soreness but we won’t know until we get the MRI. He’s not going to ride the rest of the week.”
Five years prior, Ortiz suffered another injury after falling once again at Belmont. Drf.com writes, “… he went down in a spill, sustaining ligament damage to his shoulder, a punctured lung, and a broken nose. He wasn’t able to make it back until Aug. 26 and then proceeded to go 0 for 17 at Saratoga before winning 10 races at the Belmont fall meet.”
After returning, the jockey said, ““I’m feeling more confident in myself right now… I know what I’m doing right now. Every day I’m learning more, I keep watching my replays and try to correct my mistakes in the races.”
4. He Is Married with a Child
In 2016, Jose married his wife, Taylor Rice. The two gave birth to their daughter, Leilani, in July 2017.
Taylor is a former jockey, herself. In an interview with TVG Network, she says, “I didnt have to stop due to injury or anything like that. I stopped for a beautiful little bundle of joy. As much fun as it is, its not worth it anymore.
Ortiz popped the question on the eve of the Belmont Stakes in 2016. He told drf.com, “This was a big weekend with the Belmont Stakes, and I wanted to propose… We are very happy.”
The couple had been dating for 2.5 years before getting married.
5. His 2018 Earnings Are $6,647,051
According to America’s Best Racing, Ortiz’s 2018 earnings are $6,647,051. The outlet reports that his lifetime earnings are $106,420,595.
Ortiz reportedly placed fourth amongst all jockeys in 2015 by purse earnings with $17,324,023. In 2017 and so far in 2018, he has led all North American jockeys in earnings.
Equibase.com shows his earnings steadily increasing since 2012. The outlet states that he won 1,408 mounts and ended 2017 with $27,318,875.
Source: Heavy Sports