08/07/2012 2:12PM

Saratoga: Alvarado, Ortiz enjoying solid meets

Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. celebrates a victory in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt aboard Poseidon’s Warrior on Sunday.

Two jockeys riding for the first time at Saratoga this summer, Junior Alvarado and Irad Ortiz Jr., have proven to be pleasant surprises during the opening three weeks of the meet. Alvarado won three stakes last weekend, including the Prioress, and has ridden five stakes winners at the session. Ortiz is already a two-time Grade 1 winner with Questing in the Coaching Club Oaks and Poseidon’s Warrior on Sunday in the Vanderbilt.

“It’s been amazing here so far, I never expected to do this well my first summer at Saratoga,” Alvarado said. “I was hoping to maybe win 15 or 16 races, and, if I got lucky, to win a stakes or two, but nothing like this. I’ve gotten a lot of support from many good owners and trainers, especially Bill Mott. And it’s been very special to ride for a man like Allen Jerkens and a filly like Emma’s Encore.”

Alvarado said he’s uncertain whether he’ll ride in New York again this winter or try his luck at Gulfstream Park.

“I’ll let my agent decide where I’ll go this winter,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado’s agent, Mike Sellitto said that decision will be an easy one.

“We’ll go wherever Bill Mott wants us to go,” Sellitto said.

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Ortiz said he’s just as surprised and just as happy with the sudden success he’s had to this point of the meet.

“It’s unbelievable, I won five races and two of them were Grade 1’s, and that’s great for my business,” said Ortiz who lost his apprentice allowance near the end of the recent Belmont session. “And both these horses will be running back in Grade 1’s later in the meet.”