01/05/2018 12:10PM

2017 Eclipse Awards: Jose Ortiz

Barbara D. Livingston
Jose Ortiz

It was a year of firsts for jockey Jose Ortiz, who is an Eclipse Award finalist for outstanding jockey of 2017.

He led all North American-based riders in mount earnings for the first time, with $27,318,875. Ortiz also won his first classic aboard Tapwrit in the Belmont Stakes. And he and wife Taylor welcomed their first child, Leilani.

There was even more to celebrate in 2017. Ortiz won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with Good Magic, the spring-summer title at Belmont Park, and also led all riders at Saratoga. His record of 270 wins from 1,407 mounts last year in North America included 30 graded stakes victories, with 13 coming in Grade 1’s.

Needless to say, the competition took notice.

“I have had a good year, but he had a great year,” Javier Castellano, winner of the last four Eclipse Awards for outstanding jockey, told Daily Racing Form’s David Grening.

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Ortiz’s number of wins in Grade 1 races this year trailed only Mike Smith, who won 15 while picking up three on Belmont Stakes Day. Ortiz had a Grade 1 double that same afternoon, winning the Manhattan with Ascend, then coming back one race later to win the Belmont.

Other prestigious wins for Ortiz in 2017 include the Beldame and Alabama with Elate, the Vosburgh with Takaful, the Humana Distaff with Paulassilverlining, the Flower Bowl with War Flag, the Frizette with Separationofpowers, and the Secretariat with Oscar Performance.

“You don’t expect everything to happen in one year, to win all the big races in the same year,” Ortiz told DRF’s Grening.

It could all add up to another first – an Eclipse Award – for the 24-year-old native of Puerto Rico.