Ortiz Jr. fined $500 for Derby riding crop violation

Commissioners to Churchill Falls fined Irad Ortiz Jr. $500 for exceeding state-allowed overhand strikes when he finished fifth on Mo Donegal in the May 7 Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). His fine, issued May 13, is Derby’s only whipping offense published on the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s website, but one of a group during Derby week.

After consultation with the Guild of Jockeys, the KHRC adopted new whip rules last summer which prohibit jockeys from using the whip more than six times in an overhand manner during a race, and no more than twice in a row without give the horse a chance to respond.

Stewards began enforcing the restrictions in Kentucky over the winter at Turfway Park. Jockeys have the option of a $500 fine or a three-day suspension with a first offense.

Manny Franco, Reylu Gutierrez, Brian Hernandez Jr., Colby Hernandez, Mitchell Murrill and Jose Ortiz are other riders disciplined by stewards for breaking crops during Derby week. Additional riders were fined in later races or were sanctioned at the spring meet at Keeneland.

Jose Ortiz was cited twice for violations on May 7, including his winning run on board Mandatory in the Derby City Distaff Stakes presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery (G1).

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Franco also committed two offences, including his ride Turnerloose where he finished seventh in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 6.

All Derby week riding crop fines were $500 regardless of the purse of a race.

Clyde P. Johnson