Riding spill not only painful for Irad Ortiz Jr., costly!

NEW YORK (AP) — A nasty fall riding in a race earlier this week not only sidelined jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., it proved costly on Saturday’s Belmont Stakes card.

Ortiz had to take off all 12 of his mounts because of his injuries, including a ride on Known Agenda in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.

The jockeys who picked up the rides got hot horses, with five of them winning through the first nine races, including three guided by Ortiz’s younger brother, Jose.

Jose Ortiz won the first race with Wit ($2.90), the $400,000 Woody Stephens with Drain the Clock ($17) and the $500,000 Ogden Phipps with Letruska ($4.40).

Flavian Prat replaced Irad Ortiz in the second race and won with Soft Power ($11.20), while Javier Castellano picked up and won with Search Results ($3.80) in $400,000 Acorn.

Irad Ortiz was trampled and kicked in the head by the horse ridden by Jose after his fall but only required stitches on his left arm and head. Jose Ortiz said Friday his brother was doing well, adding, “It could’ve been a lot worse.”

SILVER STATE WINS $1 MILLION MET

Silver State with Ricardo Santana Jr. aboard won the $1 million Metropolitan by a length over By My Standards with Mischevious Alex third and favorite Knicks go fourth in the five-horse field.

The Steve Asmussen-trained 4-year-old has won his last six races. This victory earned Silver State a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile this fall.

QUIET DAY

The scene at the Belmont Stakes was a return to normalcy, even if it wasn’t quite the crowd of 100,000-plus that would attend if a Triple Crown were on the line. For one thing, it was more quiet than usual.

Mostly maskless fans had no trouble finding room to walk around the vast grandstand hours before the running of the $1.5 million, 1 1/2-mile race. While New York State removed the cap on attendance amid easing of pandemic restrictions, the crowd had grown to just around 11,000 by mid-afternoon.

There was no walkup crowd possible because fans were required to pre-purchase tickets.

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AP Sports Writer Stephen Whyno contributed.

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