Chad Brown won his seventh consecutive New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) year-end training title with 140 wins while Jose Ortiz compiled his third riding crown with 185 victories as racing in 2021 was capped with the conclusion of the card on December 31.
Klaravich Stables retained the title as top owner, racking up 55 wins, seven more than the next-closest competitor, Michael Dubb, to finish as the leading owner for the third straight year at NYRA tracks, which include Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack.
Brown compiled a 140-104-91 record with 565 starters. He won four individual meets, leading the way at the Aqueduct spring, Belmont spring, Saratoga summer and Belmont fall meets.
“First and foremost, it’s a credit to the hard work of my dedicated team and so many people contributing, including a loyal, patient group of owners that supplied our team with a steady supply of talented horses all year – and, of course, all the horses in all different categories and levels giving so many fine efforts,” Brown said. “I feel this year we really spread out further through the jockey colony, using a lot of different talented jockeys that are mostly based in New York, and many of them gave memorable efforts and performances along with our horses, as well.
“And nothing could be accomplished unless NYRA provided us with really safe accommodations for our horses and our staff,” Brown added. “That’s really been a constant throughout my time building the company at NYRA. They have been great partners and I’m really excited for what the future holds – there’s a lot of exciting things happening at NYRA.”
The four-time Eclipse Award Champion trainer racked up earnings of more than $14.8 million while winning more than 24 percent of the time. Brown’s starters finished on the board at a 59 percent clip.
The 43-year-old Brown has paced NYRA trainers on every NYRA year-end standings list since 2015. Among his highlights on the NYRA circuit were Grade 1 wins at Belmont with Jack Christopher [Champagne], Rockemperor [Joe Hirsch Turf Classic], and the Klaravich Stables-owned duo of Search Results [Acorn] and Domestic Spending [Manhattan].
Brown shared his appreciation for his longtime partnership with the influential Klaravich Stables, which is headed by Seth Klarman.
“Mr. Klarman is our largest account and he’s a terrific client and friend. He’s been in the game a long time and built up quite a stable. His silks are now recognized around the world,” Brown said. “He had a very strong season and we appreciate his support very much. He has a lot of exciting horses moving forward into next season. Certainly, our team couldn’t accomplish what we’re doing without his support. I’m proud of the success of his stable, not only for the most wins but for the prize money, the win percentage that he has and the earnings per start. He’s really built a successful stable in all relevant categories and, of course, he has a number of stakes wins and most importantly graded stakes wins on the NYRA circuit.”
Brown also reflected on a special August day at Saratoga, securing his 2,000th career win when Digital Software, owned by Klaravich Stables and piloted by Ortiz, Jr., won a maiden claiming tilt in front of his hometown fans.
“It was quite a memorable day at Saratoga. It was one of the highlights of the year for me. We have been lucky enough to have our 1,000th win and our 2,000th win at Saratoga, which is storybook for me having grown up here,” Brown said. “And then to do it with the Klaravich silks and with Irad, who has been our main stable rider over the last few years, was quite a highlight.
“I was so appreciative that it happened at Saratoga and it really was one of the highlights of the summer to win another Saratoga title for my team and my friends and family around the area,” Brown added. “It really meant a lot to me, especially after being so far behind early and my team persevering and my horses persevering, steadily finishing off the second half of the meet as strong as any meet we’ve had there.”
In September, Brown added to his impressive credentials by joining a select group of conditioners to have won 100 graded races at Belmont when Pocket Square bested stablemate Miss Teheran in the Grade 3 Athenia.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher finished second with 100 wins, 12 clear of third-place Rudy Rodriguez.
Jose Ortiz entered the final card of 2021 in a tie for most wins with his brother, Irad Ortiz, Jr., but guided Untreated to victory in Race 6, a one-turn mile allowance optional claiming tilt, to edge clear and secure the year-end title outright.
He finished with a record of 185-143-135 from 913 starts, compiling purse earnings in excess of $15.2 million.
“It feels great. This is what we work for every day,” said Ortiz, who earned Eclipse Award honors as the nation’s Outstanding Jockey in 2017. “I couldn’t have done it by myself. I want to thank all the owners and trainers that gave me opportunities and my agent [Jimmy Riccio, Jr.], who does a great job.”
The 28-year-old enjoyed a year of both quality and quantity, including a pair of wins at the Breeders’ Cup in November at Del Mar with Pizza Bianca [Juvenile Fillies Turf] and Aloha West [Sprint]. Ortiz posted three Grade 1 wins this year on the NYRA circuit, all at Belmont, winning with Jack Christopher [Champagne], Letruska [Ogden Phipps], and Drain the Clock [Woody Stephens].
Ortiz, Jr. finished second with 184 wins, one clear of Manny Franco in third place.
Luis Cardenas, who became a journeyman in late May, was the leading apprentice on the NYRA circuit in 2021 with 30 wins.
Klaravich Stables won four NYRA individual meets in 2021, leading the way at the Belmont spring, Saratoga summer, Belmont fall and Aqueduct fall meets.
In total, Klaravich Stables sent out 207 starters, going 55-28-41, winning at a 26.57 percent clip, while racking up circuit-best earnings of more than $5 million in the process. Klaravich Stables won nine graded races in 2021 on the NYRA circuit, including his Grade 1 wins with the Brown-trained Search Results and Domestic Spending.
Dubb’s 48 wins was second-most on the circuit with Repole Stable finishing third with 34 wins.
Live racing resumes New Year’s Day Saturday at the Big A with a nine-race card highlighted by the $150,000 Jerome, a one-mile contest for newly minted 3-year-olds offering 10-4-2-1 qualifying points to the top-four finishers towards the Kentucky Derby. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.
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