News December  3, 2022

Gilbert Ortiz Four Wins Away From Joining Elite 3000 Wins Club

Jockey Gilbert Ortiz is within four wins of joining the ultra-elite 3000 wins club.

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by Greg Thompson,

OPELOUSAS, LA—OCTOBER 31, 2015—Journeymen rider Gilbert Ortiz has crept within four wins of joining the ultra-elite 3000 wins club.

The 52 year old Texas-native, who began his race riding career in New Braunfels, Texas at the ripe young age of 15 (altering his birth certificate to begin riding before legal age of 16), stands to join the likes of G.R. Carter, Alvin “Bubba” Brossette, Danny Cardoza, Kenny Hart, Eddie Garcia, and John Creager; as the only Quarter Horse race riders to garner over 3,000 wins.

Ortiz, who has come back from multiple injuries in his career, is still riding at the top level today. He makes the Louisiana racing circuit as his home, as he is a regular fixture at Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Fair Grounds in New Orleans, as well as Louisiana Downs in Shreveport. He love affair with the Louisiana racing circuit began in 1986, when Ortiz moved his tack to Delta Downs.

Ortiz’s career has been hampered with injuries at almost the worse possible times (even though obviously there is never a good time to be hurt). Injuries have depleted Ortiz’s career resume of a win in the Champion of Champions aboard Tailor Fit in 1999. Steve Fuller, who shared the same agent as Ortiz at the time, subbed in for an injured Ortiz to guide the racing millionaire to a win in the G1 classic event.

In 1998 at the Challenge Championships at Turf Paradise, an injured Ortiz watched from the sidelines unable to ride, as Kool Kue Baby romped home in the Challenge Championship(G1) finals, Tailor Fit surged to win the Derby Challenge Championship(G1) finals, and Devil His Due ran to victory in the Distance Challenge Championship(G1) finals all on the same night. In 2000, Ortiz finished 2nd in the All American Futurity(G1) aboard the Joe Kirk Fulton owned, Fashionisanattitude.

In Ortiz’s riding career, he has been aboard some of the biggest names in racing: Tailor Fit, Kool Kue Baby, and also the millionaire Vals Fortune.

“Vals Fortune was just such a nice horse,” said Ortiz. “He and I won so many key races together when he was a two-year old, and I would have to put him at the top of the list of best horses I have ridden. Tailor Fit is one of those “once in a lifetime” type horses as well, and I have been extremely blessed to have been apart of. “

In 2012, Ortiz was voted on by his fellow riders to be that years recipient of the Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award during the All American Futurity Weekend at Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico. Ever since receiving the honor of the award, Ortiz has traveled to Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico at his own expense to be a part of the Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award ceremony.

With being only four-wins away from the 3,000 wins plateau, Ortiz is scheduled to ride only three mounts for Saturday's card at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, Louisiana.

Courtesy Ses