Photo: Courtesy of TVG
TVG, America’s Horse Racing Network, has entered sponsorship agreements with jockeys — and brothers — Irad and Jose Ortiz, it was announced Thursday. The integrated sponsorship will include the two riders wearing TVG’s logo on their riding pants and other TVG-branded apparel, their likeness in TVG advertisements and promotions, special appearances, and exclusive content from the Ortiz Brothers on-air, on TVG.com and on social media.
Natives of Puerto Rico, Irad, 26, and Jose, 25, rose quickly to become elite riders in the U.S. and have established themselves as a consistent presence at the top of the jockey standings on the major circuits in New York and Florida. Upon graduating the Escuela Vocational Hipica, they began their careers stateside in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Since then, the brothers have dominated on Thoroughbred racing’s biggest stages and both have added a coveted Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey to their resumes, as Jose took the honors in 2017 and Irad followed him in 2018. The brothers rank in the top five currently in national earnings rankings for jockeys in 2019. Irad recently scored a noteworthy victory in the inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) in January at Gulfstream Park.
“TVG has a legacy of supporting the racing industry and jockeys, in particular, and we are proud to partner with these two talented young riders at the top of their profession,” said Enrico Rusi, General Manager of TVG, Racing. “We are also excited to give TVG viewers and account holders the chance to get to know Irad and Jose a little better through enhanced content and features throughout the year.”
Irad and Jose Ortiz join Mike Smith and John Velazquez, two of the most decorated jockeys in the history of the sport and members of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, as riders to have been sponsored by TVG.
“We are excited to partner with TVG,” said Jose. “We are big fans of TVG and when we aren’t on the track riding, we usually are watching. This is a great opportunity to get to use our platform to give back to the racing community through the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Puerto Rico Vocational Jockey School (Escuela Vocacional Hipica).”
“We are really looking forward to connecting with the fans and TVG customers in new ways,” said Irad. “We appreciate our fans very much and it is going to be fun to give them a chance to see behind the scenes into the day to day life of a jockey.”
TVG is also planning to hold a telethon for the second consecutive year in April to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Racing fans responded enthusiastically to the inaugural telethon in 2018 and raised over $217,000 to aid former riders who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.
TVG is also the title sponsor of marquee races such as the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar and the $1 million TVG Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.