Jose Heads to Keeneland, Irad Holds the Fort at Belmont

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Authors: The Ortiz Brothers, Emily Shields

Days after celebrating his 26th birthday, Jose Ortiz will leave New York and head to Kentucky to ride at Keeneland, while brother Irad holds down the fort at Belmont Park.

Jose will be aboard #6 Maxfield (12-1) in the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) for juvenile colts and geldings on Saturday. The Godolphin-owned son of Street Sense broke his maiden first out at Churchill Downs going a mile; this race is a mile and a sixteenth. Brendan Walsh trains.

“I love how he ran in his debut,” Jose said. “He closed so fast after a slow start. I remember that day the track was playing on favor of speed horses. My horse rallied down the lane to win a very good race. I think he’ll get better with longer distances.”

On Sunday, Jose rides the mighty mare Elate in the $500,000 Spinster Stakes (G1). The field is deep, with grade 1 winners She’s a Julie and Dunbar Road and defending champion Blue Prize (Arg) taking on the classy daughter of Medaglia d’Oro. But Bill Mott’s mare could be pointing for the Breeders’ Cup Classic if she does well here, and has won two of her last three starts.

“She’s one of the best horses that I’ve ever ridden,” Jose said. “She’s simply fantastic.”

Back in New York, Irad will be aboard Three Technique in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (G1) for two-year-olds at Belmont Park. The one-mile race drew a field of seven, with Three Technique breaking from post four. Jeremiah Englehart trains the son of Mr Speaker, a $180,000 yearling purchase in 2018.

“He finished second behind two good horses in his first two starts,” Irad said. Three Technique lost to Basin two back; that runner went on to win the grade 1 Runhappy Hopeful Stakes. “Then he broke his maiden in 1:22 and change for seven furlongs. He’s in a great post position. The horse is in very good condition.”Watch the Ortiz brothers in action live this weekend on TVG and TVG2.

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