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NY Riders Enjoy Derby Experience

Jockey Rajiv Maragh

Rajiv Maragh and Irad Ortiz, Jr. are none the worse for wear after contesting yesterday's Grade 1 Kentucky Derby. Maragh, who was aboard 6-1 second choice Wicked Strong, finished fourth, while Ortiz checked in 14th aboard Uncle Sigh, who led the field after a half-mile and three-quarters.


"The experience was great," said Ortiz of his first time riding in the Derby. "My horse ran well. He broke sharp and went to the front easily. I asked him to run at the 3/8-pole and he picked it up, but by the quarter-pole the other horses ran by him and he got a little tired."


Like Ortiz, Maragh came away feeling good about his mount's performance.


"My horse ran really well," said Maragh. "He came on nice at the end, but didn't have enough. On the first turn I went in as much as I could [from post 19] and the pace didn't materialize the way I hoped, so I took advantage of saving some ground on the second turn. In a perfect world, I could have gone somewhere with a big, clear path in the stretch, but when there's 19 horses it's sometimes hard to get a [place to run]. Most horses, and especially big ones like Wicked Strong, do better when they get a clear run. A couple of times I had to alter course because of what was in front of me and where the openings were. He's more of a big, steady run horse; he doesn't have a quick turn of foot. He felt like a horse that would really love the 1 ½-mile Belmont."


Jose Ortiz, who finished fifth aboard Samraat, took off his mounts at Belmont on Sunday after a spill in the final race at Churchill Downs on Saturday. He was discharged after being evaluated at a Louisville hospital.




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