<
>

Jose Ortiz off mounts through weekend after knee injury

Jockey Jose Ortiz will take off his scheduled mounts Thursday through the weekend as a result of a knee injury sustained in a spill Wednesday at Belmont Park.

The extent of the injury will not be known until Ortiz gets an MRI, his agent, Jim Riccio Jr., said Wednesday night. The good news is X-rays taken on Ortiz's left knee did not reveal any fractures.

"He had a hard time putting weight on it when the doctor told him to," Riccio said. "It could be just soreness but we won't know until we get the MRI. He's not going to ride the rest of the week."

Ortiz was injured when his mount, Submit, broke down in midstretch of Wednesday's ninth race at Belmont. Submit, a 3-year-old filly trained by Christophe Clement, suffered a fractured left front cannon bone and had to be euthanized on track.

Ortiz landed awkwardly on the turf course. He was helped off the course by emergency medical technicians and was transported back to the track's First Aid room by ambulance. Ortiz was complaining of pain to his knee and it was determined that he go to a local hospital for X-rays. Ortiz was expected to be released from North Shore University Hospital Wednesday night.

Riccio said Ortiz would seek to schedule his MRI on Thursday or Friday.

Ortiz was named to ride six races at Belmont on Thursday and nine on Friday. On Saturday, he was named to ride Lockdown in the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion Stakes at Parx and Petrov, the 2-1 morning-line favorite, in the $300,000 Gallant Bob, also at Parx. Ortiz was also named to ride Overture in the $300,000 Charles Town Oaks on Saturday night at Charles Town.

Ortiz is the regular rider of Oscar Performance, who could be the favorite in the Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont on Sept. 30.

Ortiz is the leading jockey in purse money won this year with $21 million. His 216 victories - which include a victory on Tapwrit in the Belmont Stakes - have him ranked fourth nationally. Ortiz is coming off his second riding title at Saratoga.