Spa Standings: Brown, Rice Finish in Dead Heat for Trainer’s Title

Irad Ortiz, Jr., Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stables easy winners as top jockey, owner

After 40 days of racing at Saratoga, jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. and owner Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stables were runaway title winners, while the trainers’ crown ended in a dead heat between Linda Rice and Chad Brown.

Irad Ortiz Jr. – Photo Courtesy of

In the final race of the meet on Monday, Brown held a 35-34 lead over Rice, and each had a horse in the maiden special weight at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Rice-trained Lt. Mitchell drew away in the stretch and beat Brown’s Fake Celebrity by five lengths to pull even with the four-time Eclipse Award winner. Earlier on the final-day card, Rice’s Pioneering Spirit won the Bernard Baruch (G3).

“We won three yesterday (Sunday) which gave us a chance,” Rice said in winning a second Spa trainer’s title. “I thought it was pretty unlikely, but you never know … It’s been a tremendous year. A lot of highs and lows in racing. We’ve all seen them, and we’ve all experienced them. Today was a good day.”

Brown has won six Saratoga training titles.

Highlights from the 2023 Saratoga Racing Season

While the trainer’s title went down to the wire, that was not the case for top jockey and owner. Ortiz, the nation’s leading rider, won his fifth Spa riding title by a ton – topping his brother Jose, 62-37. Klarman was the easy winner among owners, with 22 victories to second-place Mike Repole’s 10 wins.

“Winning at Saratoga is always special,” Klarman, who posted six stakes wins, all trained by Brown, said. “Winning a race that’s as historically important as the Alabama (with Randomized) will always be a highlight of my ownership career.”

Brown’s top wins came in the Alabama, the Diana (G1) with White Beam, and the Saratoga Derby Invitational (G1) with Program Training.

He also won the Lake Placid (G2) with Aspray, the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) with Carl Spackler, and the Glens Falls (G2) with McKulick.

Ortiz, Jr. had 14 stakes winners, including Grade 1 victories in the Whitney (White Abarrio), the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (Elite Power), the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (One in Vermillion) and the Spinaway (Brightwork). He also won the Shuvee (G2) with Nest, the Jim Dandy (G2) with Forte, and the Glens Falls (G2) with McKulick.

“It means a lot, it means everything,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “It’s a special place and it’s a lot of work. My agent (Steve Rushing) does a great job and I have big support from trainers and owners.”

And now, a break in New York racing until Sept. 14, when the Belmont at the Big A fall meet begins and runs through Oct. 29.


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