Sandy’z Slew to retire at jockey Jose Ortiz’s Ocala farm

August 12, 2018 03:11pm
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Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

Top-performing jockey Jose Ortiz is now a land owner in Ocala, Fla., and is building a farm on the property, with one resident already lined up in recent stakes winner Sandy’z Slew.

Ortiz ranked first in North American earnings in 2017 and has ridden horses such as juvenile champion Good Magic, Belmont Stakes winner Tapwrit and multiple Grade 1 winners Oscar Performance and Elate. The 24-year-old purchased about 18 ½ acres in the Horse Capitol of the World, where the family of his wife – former professional jockey Taylor Ortiz, formerly Taylor Rice – also live.

“It’s just something that I’ve always I wanted,” Ortiz said by phone Friday. “Probably that will be my retirement house in the future, because I love it there. I love the farm life. And maybe, just thinking in the future about it.”

Ortiz rode Sandy’z Slew, a New York-bred gelding owned by James Riccio, to victory in the Grade 3 Troy Handicap Aug. 5 at Saratoga. The Troy was the first stakes win of Sandy’z Slew’s 43-race career. Although it was his biggest success, it was also his final start.

Ortiz said Sandy’z Slew pulled up sore, and it was revealed the Jeremiah Englehart trainee had a suspensory injury, ending his racing career.

“Because Sandy’s owned by my agent’s [Jimmy Riccio] dad and he’s an 8-year-old gelding, so there’s not much that they can do with him other than find him a home,” Ortiz said when asked how he secured Sandy’z Slew. “I told him that if he was retiring him because of his injury I want to take Sandy and he said OK. And I’ll take him.”

Sandy’z Slew was a $40,000 claim for Riccio at last year’s Saratoga meet, and Ortiz also picked up a pair of allowance wins with the gelding for the new connections. Overall, the son of Limehouse scored 10 wins, eight seconds and five thirds, earning $684,487 throughout his six seasons on the track.

While Sandy’z Slew may end up being the first resident to settle in, Ortiz plans on having other horses there too.

“Yeah, we’re going to have some ponies for the kids to ride and my wife’s family's all from there,” Ortiz said. “I love it out there. Just something I want.”


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