Born: October 2, 1993 in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico
Record at Keeneland
Total Wins: 40
Stakes Wins: 3
First Grade 1 Win: 2013 Hopeful at Saratoga on Strong Mandate
First Stakes Win: 2013 Beru at Aqueduct on Let Me Entertain U
First Graded Stakes Win: 2013 Dwyer (G2) at Belmont aboard Moreno
First Career Win: Puerto Rico) Jan. 7, 2012, at Hipodromo Camarero on Dona Clara. (U.S.) March 21, 2012, at Aqueduct on Corofin
Starters in the Toyota Blue Grass
During the 2017 Spring Meet, won the Madison (G1) on Paulassilverlining.
First win came during the 2016 Fall Meet. Had ridden at Keeneland only eight times prior to then. Won a total of 10 races during the season.
Triple Crown win: 2017 Belmont (G1) on Tapwrit.
Breeders’ Cup wins (2): 2016 Juvenile Turf on Oscar Performance; 2017 Juvenile on Good Magic.
Received his first Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey for 2017.
North American career earnings exceed $101 million with 1,447 wins through January 30, 2018.
Ortiz was North America’s leading rider by earnings in 2017 with $27,318,875. His 270 wins include the Belmont presented by NYRA Bets (G1) aboard Tapwrit; Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) with Good Magic; Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) with Oscar Performance; and Madison (G1) at Keeneland.
Won three stakes on Jan. 29, 2017, at Sam Houston: Houston Ladies Classic (G3) on Unbridled Mo, John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3) on Bigger Picture and Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint on Partly Mocha.
Led North American jockeys by wins in 2016 with 351. His mounts earned $22,925,132, to rank third. Won 23 graded stakes during the year, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) on Oscar Performance, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) on Ectot (GB), Hopeful (G1) on Practical Joke and Mother Goose (G1) on Off the Tracks.
Won the 1,000th race of his career on July 28, 2016, when he rode Moonlight Song to win the John Morrissey Stakes at Saratoga.
2015 earnings were $17,324,023 with 244 wins. Won the Carter (G1) on Dads Cap, and three graded stakes, including the Gallant Bloom (G2) on La Verdad.
2014 earnings were $16,547,617 with 234 wins. Won the Beldame (G1) and Delaware Handicap (G1) on Belle Gallantey and the Frizette (G1) on By the Moon.
On the first seven races at Aqueduct on Jan. 20, 2013, he won three races and his brother Irad won four races.
Jose and his year-older brother and frequent riding rival, Irad Ortiz Jr., are from Puerto Rico, where they graduated from the Escuela Vocacional Hipica jockey school. Their grandfather and an uncle also were jockeys.
Irad Ortiz moved to New York in 2011, and Jose began riding at Parx a year later. Jose soon relocated to New York and won with his first mount, Corofin, in March 2012 at Aqueduct. Today the brothers are among the most successful riders in Thoroughbred racing.
In 2016, Irad told Jeff Lowe of “America’s Best Racing” that he always competed against Irad, whether in baseball, basketball or horse racing. “That’s just what we do,” he said. “We’ve always competed, trying to beat each other. It’s still fun. We’re still very close. We share the same corner in the jockey’s room in New York and when we get done racing, he usually stops by my house, just about every day.”
Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. mentors the Ortiz brothers.