Jockeys Ortiz Jr. and Maragh Temporarily Stop Riding During Pandemic

March 20, 2020

Photo: Lauren King/NYRA

Jockeys Irad Ortiz Jr. and Rajiv Maragh have decided to stop riding while horse racing continues in some places without fans amid the coronavirus pandemic. Both are currently based at Gulfstream Park where live racing continues without spectators under strict protocols.  

Ortiz Jr., 27, said on Twitter that “this is the safest decision for my family and myself. Hopefully we can all make it safely out of this quarantine sooner than later and get back to what we all love.”

A two-time Eclipse winner, Ortiz Jr. leads Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet with 113 wins from 471 starters. Ortiz could still win the meet title being well in front of second place should racing continue as scheduled through the end of March. Ortiz Jr. was scheduled to ride Portos in the $1 million Louisiana Derby on Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans.

Rajiv Maragh also stated on Twitter that he has stopped riding “for the best chance of staying healthy for myself and family.”

While Maragh did not specifically mention the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, he said the hiatus will last “until things are in better order.” Maragh was scheduled in one race at Gulfstream Park on Friday and four on Saturday. 

According to Equibase with a record of 1,902 wins from 15,522 starts, Maragh, 34, has amassed over $101 million in purse money over his 15 year career, including back-to-back victories in the 2013 and 2013 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprints aboard Groupie Doll.

Ortiz Jr., Luis Saez and Tyler Gaffalione also said they will not ride in the Dubai World Cup on March 28 due to concerns over travel restrictions and quarantine. There is a 14 day mandatory quarantine for all those returning to the U.S. after the race.

Past The Wire Staff

@jonathanstettin That was damn near evangelical. You’re one of the few experts a novice like me can depend on. Keep up the good work!

Chris LaPort (@alloutdrive) View testimonials