Ortiz brothers are fierce competitors, despite close bond

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With the Spa heating up, there’s plenty of intense competition, some fierce, and some friendly.

For these two jockeys with a long history, it’s a little bit of both.

Irad Ortz Jr., and his younger brother Jose have always shared a common bond.

“We always liked horses growing up,” says Jose.

Irad says he and his brother wanted to be the same thing, jockeys.

From their humble upbringing in Puerto Rico, to the lavish spectacle of Saratoga, Irad says it’s like a dream.

While it’s a dream they’ve reached together, They’ve had to compete against each other.

The Ortiz brothers describe their relationship as close, but competitive.

Jose Ortiz: “He’s pretty competitive.”

Irad Ortiz Junior: “I mean, we’re competitive in Playstation.”

Liana: “Who’s better in Playstation”

Jose Ortiz: “I am.”

Liana:  “Who’s the better jockey?”

Jose Ortiz: “I am.”

Irad Ortiz: “Everything we do, we want to win.”


Both jockeys have won a lot.  Irad is the reigning Saratoga Riding Title Champion.  He’s coming off a Belmont Stakes win.

But his brother won the Belmont meet.  Jose leads the nation in wins this year

The duo is second and third in earnings.

And while both have the 2016 Toga Title in sights, only one can take it.

Jose says when he steps into the starting gates before a race and you look over to see Irad there, he’s just another guy he has to beat.

And they’re not the only two guys racing, either. The jockey colony at the spa is the best in the business.

“We keep looking forward,” says Irad. “ You can never stop in this business.”

So they keep working.  Watching.  Listening.  Learning.  Striving for perfection.

“Maybe one day I can look like Johnny V,” says Irad, meaning John Velazquez.

They explain that to them John Velazquez is as close to perfection as they’ve ever seen.

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