04/28/2014 11:26AM

Violette has faith in Jose Ortiz

Barbara D. Livingston
Samraat (left) will be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by 20-year-old jockey Jose Ortiz.

At age 20, Jose Ortiz, the rider of Samraat, will be the youngest jockey in this year’s Kentucky Derby. Rick Violette, the trainer of Samraat, has as much confidence in Ortiz as if he was a 20-year veteran.

“He’s very confident, loves the horse, he’s a very smooth rider, doesn’t over-ride. I think that’s a quality that’s a little unusual,” Violette said. “A lot of young riders, at this stage of their career, turn for home and all they do is start flailing away and get very excited. He doesn’t over-ride. That’s part confidence and natural ability to kind of take in what’s happening.”

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Violette noted that in victories in the Gotham and Withers, Ortiz hit Samraat “a total of one time. Sometimes you’ll get a guy who’ll ride faster than the horse is going. In the Gotham, he had a grin on his face nearing the wire, knowing he had those horses measured.”

Jose Ortiz and his horses were going awfully fast at the Aqueduct spring meet that just ended Sunday. Ortiz won the riding title – his first – with 28 wins, five more than his 21-year-old brother, Irad Ortiz Jr., who also is riding in his first Kentucky Derby aboard fellow New York-bred Uncle Sigh.

Jose Ortiz has never ridden at Churchill Downs, but Violette said he is scheduled to ride there Friday and early on Saturday’s card.

“Older riders are sometimes just as susceptible to getting swallowed by the moment, especially the more opportunities they’ve had,” said Violette, who is participating in his second Derby. “Young guys assume they’re going to get back there. Sometimes that can be an asset.”

Samraat was scheduled to be the last Kentucky Derby horse to arrive on the grounds. He was scheduled to arrive on a Tex Sutton flight early Monday evening.