#US RACING: IRAD ORTIZ TO MISS ANOTHER 3-4 WEEKS

ORTIZ IRAD JR

After fracturing knee at Gulfstream Park last Friday

Top jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who was injured Friday at Gulfstream Park during an incident at the starting gate, will miss an additional 3-4 weeks, agent Steve Rushing confirmed to Horse Racing Nation on Tuesday.

With the extended recovery time from what Rushing called a small knee fracture, Ortiz will likely be forced to miss the rich Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) program at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 29. Ortiz is the regular rider of both Life is Good, a contender for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup, as well as Colonel Liam, who is slated to contest the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf. Both horses are trained by Todd Pletcher.

Daily Racing Form's Marty McGee first reported the added recovery time for Ortiz. It was initially hoped Ortiz would be able to return to the saddle Wednesday. He had been named to ride eight horses at Gulfstream on Wednesday, another eight Thursday and seven Friday.

Ortiz, who has won the last three Eclipse Awards for outstanding jockey, was injured while aboard Shea on a Mission before the fourth race Friday at Gulfstream. Ortiz's knee was injured when the 4-year-old acted up in the starting gate. The filly would be scratched, and Ortiz had to be helped off the track by the gate crew.

The incident occurred just two days after Ortiz had returned from a 30-day suspension due to a reckless ride in New York.

Ortiz finished 2021 with 336 wins from 1,443 mounts, which led all jockeys in North America. His $29,274,435 in purse earnings were second only to Joel Rosario, who had $32,944,478.

 

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