Meet Irad Ortiz, the £200MILLION jockey who beat up a rival & just pinched some of Frankie Dettori's Royal Ascot rides | The Sun

Meet Irad Ortiz, the £200MILLION jockey who beat up a rival & just pinched some of Frankie Dettori's Royal Ascot rides | The Sun

HE is the £200million jockey who was filmed viciously punching a rival.

Once banned for 30 days for the 'most dangerous' mid-race move ever, he's now pinched some of Frankie Dettori's biggest Royal Ascot rides.


Meet Irad Ortiz, the hottest jockey in America with a fiery temperament to match.

Top US trainer Wesley Ward has picked Ortiz over Ascot legend Dettori for his best horses next week.

Ortiz will get the leg up on equine torpedo Golden Pal, the current 2-1 favourite for the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes, among others.

Dettori, who rode that famous Magnificent Seven as Ascot in 1996, was the go-to jockey for Ward, who recently lost three horses in a devastating fire.

But now Ward, the first American trainer to saddle a Royal Ascot winner in 2009, is changing tack.

He said: "Irad is riding every one [of my horses].

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"Frankie is my man and I love him, but Irad is swinging right now in the States – he's the hottest rider in America.

"He's a great kid and rode Acapulco for me a few years back when she finished second in the Nunthorpe at York in 2015.

"He's won all over in America and he's just a phenomenal rider who rides with extreme patience.

'MAN OF THE MOMENT'

"He's the man of the moment here in the States, that's for sure.

"He's put a lot of work in for me early in the mornings and he's so excited to get over to Ascot."

But for all Ortiz's undeniable skill in the saddle – he has career earnings of just under £200m and more than 3,000 wins – controversy seems to follow him wherever he goes.

He was fined £700 last year for punching rival Paco Lopez three times in the face after a heated race.

Ortiz was caught on camera walking up to Lopez and swinging a huge right hand at him.

He followed up with two more blows before security eventually brought an end to the bust-up at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

Incredibly, Ortiz, who sparked the melee, had won the race by 11 lengths.

Then last December Ortiz, 29, from Puerto Rico, was given a rare 30-day ban after causing a rival jockey to fall off his horse.

Apprentice jockey Omar Hernandez Moreno was flung from Ragtime Blues and lucky to escape serious injury after Ortiz went into him with 'reckless abandon'.

CONTROVERSY FOLLOWS HIM

Ortiz finished second on Gran Casique, but then stewards disqualified him, placed him last and punished him with a month-long suspension.

Mind you, Ortiz knows all about the dangers of racing.

He was trampled on and kicked in the head by a horse ridden by his brother Jose a year ago.

Ortiz needed stitches in his head and arm after the incident, which also forced him to miss out on around £1.1m in winnings as a result of being taken off booked rides.

Hopefully nothing will stop him making his debut at Ascot, although he will have to be extra careful under the watchful eye of British stewards.

Ortiz was fined £400 ($500) for using his whip above the permitted level on fifth-placed Mo Donegal in last month's Kentucky Derby.

It's fair to assume stewards and other jockeys, not to mention Dettori, will be keeping a close eye on Ortiz once the stalls open at Ascot.

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