‘Just Devastating’: Amid Career Year, Ortiz’s Thoughts With His Eastern Kentucky In-Laws – Horse Racing News

‘Just Devastating’: Amid Career Year, Ortiz’s Thoughts With His Eastern Kentucky In-Laws – Horse Racing News

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John Ortiz and Justa Warrior

John Ortiz is having a profession 12 months, his greater than $3.5 million in purse earnings rating No. 20 in America. His eight victories (out of 29 begins) matches Corridor of Famer Steve Asmussen for essentially the most this summer season at Ellis Park. He’s working romping debut-winner Justa Warrior within the $125,000 RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Debutante and Iowa Distaff runner-up Graysonsmacho Gal within the $125,000 Groupie Doll on the RUNHAPPY Meet at Ellis Park’s signature card Sunday.

Ortiz was discussing his good lucky on a post-card excellent morning at Ellis Park, the backdrop fluffy clouds in opposition to an azure-blue sky, when he famous the distinction to his spouse Crystal’s brother and sister in regulation in Breathitt County, which is reeling from the historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky.

Jason and Kayla Parks, like so many, had their house fully flooded. The water does not simply go out and in. It stays there, wreaking additional havoc.

“It is unhappy to listen to that type of information. I used to be speaking to Reylu the opposite day,” mentioned Ortiz, referring to jockey Reylu Gutierrez. “I mentioned, ‘We have got to remain humble. Right here at Ellis, we’re residing the most effective meet we have had. We’re successful races, doing effectively. We get to go house to our home and houses and flats and our stuff. On the opposite aspect of the state, we’ve households in Eastern Kentucky – not simply my household — who’ve misplaced every thing they’ve labored so exhausting for. It is a small group. To lose just a bit bit might be so much for them.”

The Parkses should not related to the racetrack. However Ortiz mentioned his in-laws have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity that individuals in racing have proven them, together with contributing to a GoFundMe account that Crystal Ortiz arrange.

“Something helps,” John Ortiz mentioned. “And I’ve donated for different charities as effectively for different folks, not simply my very own in-laws. However all people in Eastern Kentucky wants just a little hand proper now, donating water or no matter we are able to. My spouse went there the opposite day to assist them clear up. She mentioned it took a very long time simply scraping buckets and buckets of mud out of their cupboards. That is how excessive the water was.

“It is simply devastating. You are going to get mildew, and also you damage stuff, foundations. Just a lot that may go incorrect. It is only a humbling time proper now the place you perceive that after we’re doing effectively, we nonetheless can share that and assist others.”

In the meantime, enterprise has to proceed as typical on the observe. Ortiz’s steady has morphed from relying largely on claiming horses to being populated with 2-year-olds. Justa Warrior, owned by Stone Bridge Farm, galloped to a five-length romp on July 22 at 5 1/2 furlongs at Ellis Park underneath Gutierrez.

“The barn and I have been very excessive on her,” Ortiz mentioned. “Bodily her, we at all times thought she was going to be an incredible horse. It was extra like a exercise for her. She simply completed working this morning (Sunday) and she or he did the identical factor: Sat three off after which goes by and opens up by two. She simply likes passing. She likes the sport. She enjoys what she’s doing.”

Ortiz additionally has Boss Girl Bailey, who gained by a head first day out at seven-eighths of a mile July 23. Nevertheless, she’ll await one other stakes.

He acknowledges that he is pondering of the First Friday in Could, when the Kentucky Oaks will likely be held at Churchill Downs.

“Day by day you are going to get up and take into consideration one thing like that when you might have a pleasant spectacular filly,” he mentioned of Justa Warrior, who drew put up 12 in an overflow discipline for the Ellis Park Debutante. “You have a look at her, bodily she appears to be like nice. She additionally has angle to go together with it, and I like a filly with angle. They’re simply hungry. They’re right here to play the sport. They need to be the alpha on the market.”

Graysonsmacho Gal hadn’t raced in 9 months when she completed second by a head within the Iowa Distaff gained by Jilted Bride, who is also working within the mile Groupie Doll. The 5-year-old Graysonsmacho Gal has raced at Ellis Park six occasions, successful three with a 3rd. When she wins, she wins large. Her final three victories have been by 11 lengths, 17 (each at Ellis final summer season) and 9 1/4 (at Keeneland’s 2020 fall meet.)

“She’s doing phenomenal,” Ortiz mentioned. “She ran an incredible first effort off the layup simply to get beat a nostril on the wire. Reylu is aware of her just a little bit extra now. She loves Ellis Park. I feel that is the horse for the course.”

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