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Horse Racing Update: Award-winning Jockey Ortiz to Miss 30 Races in Belmont Park due to Spill; 2 No Contests at Churchill Downs

Three-time Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz will sit out the weekend in Belmont Park. It is because following a nasty spill that required stitches in his head and left forearm. The doctors asked Irad Ortiz to take a week-long (or longer) respite to recover and avoid infection. The development will have the 28-year-old Puerto Rican jockey missing 30 races booked for Friday through Sunday. This includes 12 graded stakes races, particularly the Belmont Stakes where he is supposed to ride 6-1 favorite Known Agenda. As of press time, Known Agenda trainer Todd Pletcher said that he will bide his time. It will be until the morning of June 5 as to which jockey will mount the horse for the race. The shocking turn of events will affect horse racing betting sites as they are unsure of who will take the reins onboard the Known Agenda.

The Spill

Ortiz was rushed to the hospital after taking a spill off three-year-old filly Equal Pay on Thursday at Belmont Park. Apparently, he was clipped by a trailing horse after he fell onto the track. The jockey was placed on a flat board and rushed to North Shore University Hospital for tests and treatment. Fortunately, Ortiz’s scans were negative and is feeling well after the incident.

But that does not mean he can ride for the next three days. Ortiz’s agent Steve Rushing said that the doctors wanted Ortiz to take at least a week off. Rushing said that his client is clear to ride. However, the specialists wanted his wounds (in his head and left forearm) to heal to avoid infection.

Pletcher, meanwhile, said that Ortiz was supposed to ride eight of his horses in Belmont, including Known Agenda. 

Bro Jose Takes Three

The incident gave Ortiz’s brother Jose three bookings. He will be aboard Drain the Clock in the Woody Stephens (G1), Letruska in the Ogden Phipps (G1) and Mischievous Alex in the Met Mile (G1), Jose’s agent Jimmy Riccio confirmed. Meanwhile, Hall of Fame jockey John Velasquez was booked to ride Fast Boat in the Jaipur (G1). It is still unknown who will be replacing Irad Ortiz in the other races he is booked on Saturday and Sunday.

2 NCs Declared at Churchill Downs

Meanwhile, the Churchill Downs racetrack on Friday became a witness to a horseracing rarity where it had two no contests on its first eight races. The first NC was in the fourth race where Zippy Baby up crashed through the temporary inner rail shortly after the flag-off of the 1 1/16-mile claiming event. Reports said the three-year-old gelding broke from the inside stall and hit the rail. The horse continued running down the course inside of the temporary barrier. His jockey, Ricardo Santana Jr, fell off the horse’s mount. The track announcer called a halt to the proceedings and the other horses were pulled off the track by their jockeys.

Fortunately, Santana was not seriously hurt and resumed riding. He won the next race aboard Cool Papa G. He is to race on Saturday in Belmont where he will ride the Japanese horse France Go de Ina in the Belmont Stakes. Four races later, another no contest was declared after Cummings broke through the starting gate, triggering a staggered start for the remainder of the field. The incidents affected sports gambling odds as bettors got their money back.