07/17/2016 6:40PM

Jose Ortiz is leading rider with 78 wins as Belmont closes

Joe Labozzetta/NYRA
Jose Ortiz's 78 winners were 21 more than his second-place brother Irad Ortiz Jr.

Jockey Jose Ortiz put a bow on a spectacular Belmont Park spring/summer meeting, winning four races on Sunday’s closing-day card, including the $125,000 Lynbrook Stakes on the first-time starter Miss Freeze.

Ortiz, 22, finished the 54-day meet as the leading rider with 78 winners, 21 more than his brother Irad Ortiz Jr., who did win the meet’s signature event, the Belmont Stakes. Irad Ortiz won the last race on Sunday’s card to leapfrog Manny Franco and finish as the second-leading rider with 57 wins.

Jose Ortiz, who also won the Aqueduct winter and spring meet titles, won two of the first three races of the Belmont meet and never looked back. He had three four-win days and one five-win day.

“It’s great, the best riders are here I think,” said Ortiz, who also won two stakes at Delaware Park on Saturday. “I’m really happy. Today, I was on 10 mounts” _ actually nine after his mount in the last was a late scratch _ “my agent [Jimmy Riccio Jr.] did a great job. I was on the right horses.”

Though Miss Freeze had never run before, she certainly proved to be the right horse in the Lynbrook. After getting bumped at the start, Miss Freeze rated in fourth position. Around the turn, she dropped back to last as Ortiz said “she was getting out a little tiny bit.” Ortiz said after he showed Miss Freeze the whip, she got going again.

At the quarter pole, pace-setting Zenna drifted off the rail, and Miss Freeze had a huge opening to go on through. She galloped home a 6 1/4-length winner over Wilburnmoney, the only winner in the field who got second by a half-length over favored Paz the Bourbon.

David Cannizzo, the trainer of Miss Freeze, said he scratched the filly out of a July 8 maiden race to run in the Lynbrook. He and owners Michael Imperio, Joe Bulger and DJC Racing decided to go in a race with a shorter field.

“This was always an idea,” Cannizzo said. “She’s a very special filly. The maiden had [10] horses and we thought the stake would have six or seven. I’d rather go in a smaller field.”

Cannizzo said that Miss Freeze would likely be pointed to the Saratoga Special on Aug. 13, or the $200,000 Seeking the Ante Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 26.

Ortiz was not the only rider to win four races on Sunday’s closing day card. Junior Alvarado also rode four winners, finishing the meet with 28.

Trainer Chad Brown won his first Belmont spring/summer title with 38 wins, 13 more than Todd Pletcher.

By virtue of Champagne Ruby winning Sunday's fourth race, Michael Dubb finished as the leading owner with 12 wins, one more than Chester and Mary Broman.

After four dark days, racing on this circuit resumes Friday at Saratoga.