Authors: The Ortiz Brothers, Emily Shields
With every passing year Kentucky Downs becomes a more popular place, to race, train, and ride. Jose Ortiz will head to the Franklin, Kentucky track this weekend to pilot Zulu Alpha in the $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes (G3).
The 1 ½ mile race for three year olds and up drew an oversubscribed field of 14, with 12 set to go and two also eligible waiting in the wings. Zulu Alpha will break from post 9 for his seventh start of 2019. This will be only Jose’s second start aboard the dark bay son of Street Cry (Ire), who is trained by Mike Maker. Brother Irad rode him to two graded victories at the beginning of the year, and then Jose rode him home third, beaten just a length, in the Eklhorn (G2) at Keeneland.
“It's a very even race,” Jose said of the Kentucky Turf Cup. “I know that Zulu Alpha has been working very well at Churchill Downs. He has competed with the best horses in the country in his division and with a good trip this Saturday, he will be a rival to consider in this event. I’m looking forward to it.”
Zulu Alpha is eight for 27 lifetime with earnings past the half million dollar mark and 17 top three finishes. He was most recently fifth in the Bowling Green (G2) at Saratoga after running second, beaten just a neck, in the grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth.
Jose’s brother Irad is currently serving a five-day suspension, and will be able to ride again September 13. Jose himself is fresh off a grade 1 win in the Runhappy Hopeful Stakes aboard Basin. The pair cruised home 6 ½ lengths clear of the rest. Ortiz grabbed his third Saratoga riding title in four years, with Irad finishing second in number of wins and total purses earned.
Watch the Ortiz brothers in action live on TVG.
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