Top Two Spa Riders Staying Put

The Daily Racing Blog recently wondered if the top riders at Saratoga would miss the last week of the meet in order to participate in the Kentucky Derby on September 9th.

Well it seems the Ortiz brothers (1st and 2nd in the jockey standings) feel they can make more hay in Saratoga than they could in Louisville.

Both Jose and Irad Ortiz Jr. will skip the Kentucky Derby due to the travel restrictions in place by the New York Racing Association and Churchill Downs, according to the sources close to the brothers.

Arguably the two best riders in America, the brothers will continue to vie for the riding title over the next three weeks.

Officials announced this week that jockeys competing Derby week would be required to be in Kentucky by August 31st due to new COVID-19 bio-security protocols.

NYRA had previously announced that jockeys, trainers, and backstretch employees leaving the grounds at Saratoga Race Course and traveling out-of-state would not be permitted to re-enter track grounds to participate in the current summer meet.

Other riders staying to finish the Saratoga meet include Joel Rosario (currently 3rd) and Luis Saez.

Manny Franco, John Velazquez, Javier Castellano, Ricardo Santana, and Tyler Gaffalione are expected to make the trip to Kentucky.

We wish this contingent of the Saratoga jockey colony nothing but the best of luck at Churchill Downs, and look forward to seeing you at Belmont.

Safe trip fellas.

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