09/02/2016 3:16PM

Jose Ortiz leads in jockey race

Barbara D. Livingston
Jose Ortiz leads his brother Irad in the jockey standings heading into the final weekend of the Saratoga meet.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Whereas the training title is basically decided heading into the final weekend of the meet, there is still some suspense in the jockeys’ race, with brothers Jose Ortiz and Irad Ortiz Jr. as well as Javier Castellano still in contention.

Thanks to a four-win afternoon Thursday, Jose Ortiz entered the final four days of the meet with a 54-48 lead over his brother. Castellano had 46 wins.

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Jose Ortiz won his first Belmont spring-summer crown this year and said winning his first Saratoga crown would be very important.

“It’s Saratoga,” he said Friday before the races. “It’s the best meeting maybe in North America. That’s why it’s important to me. I really want to win it so bad – it means a lot. Irad’s a great a jockey. He’s my brother, too, but I don’t feel like I just want to beat him. I just have to keep winning. If I win one or two the last couple of days, I think I can hold on.”

Irad Ortiz won his first Saratoga jockey title last year.