Ortiz Expected Back for Dash For Cash Futurity Final at Lone Star Park

(Tuesday, October 11, 2005) - Priscilla Ortiz, the wife of jockey Gilbert Ortiz, said her 42-year-old husband was getting some rest and relaxation Tuesday afternoon following his spill in Saturday night's ninth race at Lone Star Park.

"He was treated and released Saturday night," Priscilla Ortiz said. "There were no broken bones or anything like that, so we feel blessed. He's just sore and stiff, especially around the neck."

Ortiz went down in the ninth race when the Heath Taylor-trained Cotton Nash crossed the finish line in second and tried to jump the beam of light on the ground from the track's photo finish system. Ortiz was bucked hard to the ground after the wire, which caused some head and neck pain and a trip to Methodist Hospital in Dallas.

The spill was a cause for concern because in November or 1999, Ortiz was involved in a spill at Lone Star that caused two fractures in his back, a frontal skull fracture and a minor cervical spine fracture in his neck. Through surgery and rigorous rehabilitation, he returned to riding seven months later and won back-to-back riding titles at Lone Star in 2000 and '01.

"Cotton Nash had never raced at night before and the lights were new to him," explained Taylor. "I spoke with Gilbert [early Tuesday afternoon] and he said everything appears to be all right. He went to San Antonio to see his regular doctor and he told him to take a week off. They want to play it safe, considering that spill he took a few years ago. Gilbert fully expects to get medical clearance to ride next Monday. He plans to ride Thursday (Oct. 20) and Friday (Oct. 21) at Evangeline, then be at Lone Star for the Futurity final on Saturday (Oct. 22)."

In the Grade 1, $345,300 Dash For Cash Futurity final, Ortiz is expected to ride fastest qualifier Make A Secret for Taylor. "[Make A Secret] put on a super showing and he came out of the race really good," Taylor said. "As you'd expect, he was really tired for a couple of hours after the race, but he came out of it really good and ate up all of his feed the next day." Despite Saturday's freak incident, Cotton Nash also was among the finalists to the Futurity.

DOWN THE STRETCH - Through the first six days of the Fall Meeting of Champions, Rodrigo Vallejo was the leading rider with nine wins from 26 mounts, a healthy 34.6% win clip. On average, his winning horses paid $12.10 for every $2 bet. Larry Payne and Dewey Smith were tied for second with seven wins apiece, while Roy Baldillez was third with six victories..."Sleepy" Gilbreath and Eddie Willis were tied atop the trainer standings with five winners each. Four trainers had four wins: Jeff Acuna, John Buchanan, Toby Keeton and Jesse Yoakum...Bernardine and Gordon Haslam topped the owner standings with three wins from three starters...Through the first two weeks, favorites had won at a 41.4% win-clip (21-for-70) and were in the exacta 57.1% of the time (40-for-70). With that said, the average pari-mutuel payoffs were juicy: $2 Win, $14.30; $2 Exacta, $98.00; $2 Quinella, $55.40; $2 Trifecta, $759.20; and 10-cent Superfecta, $317.00...The final four races of Wednesday night's program (Races 6-9) will be simulcast into California. On Friday and Saturday, California will import the final five races (Races 9-13)...The feature live events next week will be the $17,500 Red River Handicap (3-year-olds & up at 870 yards) and trials for the Grade 1, $200,000-estimated Graham Paint Futurity (2-year-old Paint Horses at 350 yards) on Friday night. Saturday's feature is the $20,000 Burnett Handicap (3-year-olds & up at 350 yards)...Friday night's Heineken "Party at the Park" will feature blues by The Silvertones. Meanwhile, country music from King Cone & The Tailgate Philharmonic will be performed between races Saturday. The Heineken "Party at the Park" series continues every Friday and Saturday through Oct. 29 with live music and drink specials in the Courtyard of Champions from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m...Kathy Brundrett will be honored between races Wednesday night as the Lone Star Park Charitable Foundation for Grand Prairie "Volunteer of the Week." Brundrett has tirelessly worked as the Treasurer for the Grand Prairie Arts Council, paying the bills and balancing the books for the past two years - all as a volunteer.

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