By TDN / Christina Bossinakis
By the time 2018 came to a close, Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Jose Ortiz had firmly established themselves atop the nationwide jockey standings, distancing themselves from the pack in the earnings race by millions of dollars. With Irad generating $27.7 million and his younger brother, Jose, ending the year with $26.8 million, the Puerto Rican duo is poised to once again contend for the Eclipse Award for champion rider, to be presented at Gulfstream Park on the evening of Thursday, Jan. 24.
On the heels of a breakout 2017 campaign which saw Jose top the jockey standings and bring home his first Eclipse Award, Irad will hope to claim one of his own for the 2018 season. The brothers, who are on-track competitors on a daily basis, sat down with the TDN=s Christina Bossinakis to discuss how they balance their desire to win with a deeply rooted brotherly love. TDN: It seems like riding was in your blood since day one. Did you ever have a thought that you wanted to do anything else? IO: Not really…I was just waiting to turn 16 to get into a jockey school. And my mom said, ‘No, you can’t do that. You’re going to school.’ So they put me in a school…[But] I knew what I wanted to be in my life–I wanted to be a jockey. I was working on my weight early, like at age 15, so I worked every day to try to stay ready when I turned 16.
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