Fred Faour: A look at what jockeys mean – especially Irad Ortiz – in the Kentucky Derby

Mandatory Credit: Photo by CSM/Shutterstock (13792996i) , 2023, Hallandale Beach, Florida, USA: Forte #4 ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. wins the Fountain of Youth Stakes (Grade 2) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida on th, 2023. Liz Lamont/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM Horse Racing Fountain of Youth Stakes Day, Hallandale Beach, USA – 04 Mar 2023

Fred Faour: A look at what jockeys mean – especially Irad Ortiz – in the Kentucky Derby

Mattress Mack has an awesome promo where if the Kentucky Derby favorite wins you get your furniture free. Check out the flyer below, then let’s look at how jockeys have an impact:

When handicapping horse races, bettors tend to focus on jockeys. This is not a bad strategy, but this is not the old days when riders like Calvin Borel, Victor Espinoza, Kent Desormeaux, and John Velazquez grew on trees. Before that, it was Angel Cordero, Jerry Bailey, Mike Smith, Eddie D, and a host of others.

Now? With John Velazquez fading, the big dog is probably Irad Ortiz, Jr. He will be aboard favored Forte, who will get you free furniture if he wins. Ortiz has not won the Derby, but he won the Eclipse for best jockey in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022, plus he has 16 Breeders’ Cup wins, including the Classic, and two Belmont Stakes wins. In short, it is his time.

Ortiz is the best jockey out there right now, and in the Derby, you need experience. You need someone who will make the right move at the right time. Jockeys can lose races more than they win them. One mistake can ruin a race. Great jockeys make mistakes, but they make fewer than bad jockeys.

Great jockeys also get on a lot of great horses, and of course, it is easier to win when you do. Mike Smith made a career out of always being on the best horse, even though he was just a slightly above-average rider. He never improved a horse.

Ortiz does. At his best, he will not only keep a horse out of trouble, but he will also get the most out of it.

That is what he should do on Saturday with Forte. He might not win, but he will not put the horse in position to lose. That’s what great jockeys do.

No matter what, your furniture purchase is in the best hands possible.

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