Improving type adds hot jockey for Hall of Fame

Profile Picture: James Scully

August 4th, 2017

Jose Ortiz tops Saratoga’s jockey standings with 19 wins entering Friday’s National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) program and has a fine chance to repeat as leading rider at the highly-competitive venue. Part of the success is picking the right horses and Friday’s card serves as a perfect example, with seven of Jose’s eight mounts having been ridden by a different jockey last time.

He is moving horses up this meet and must be accounted for by handicappers. And the same can be said for brother Irad, the second-leading jock with 17 wins.

Jose picks up the mount aboard Snap Decision (5-1 morning line) in the Hall of Fame and the well-bred Hard Spun colt will enter on the upswing for trainer Shug McGaughey, posting a sharp allowance tally at Belmont Park on July 3. He registered an excellent 103 BRIS Late Pace Rating for the 1 ½-length decision and was flattered when runner-up Hieroglyphics came back to easily defeat allowance foes at Saratoga last week.

Snap Decision flashed potential when rolling to a convincing maiden tally in his third start at Gulfstream Park in late January. He earned a stakes try as a result, recording a decent third in the Palm Beach (G3) five weeks later, but that marked his last stakes attempt for five months. Most trainers would’ve been tempted to proceed toward sophomore turf stakes at Keeneland and other tracks, but not McGaughey.

The Hall of Fame conditioner gives his horses the chance to develop and opted to play it conservatively with Snap Decision, opting for three consecutive allowance starts for the half-brother to a Grade 1 turf winner. He nearly defeated Bricks and Mortar two starts back, finishing a close second as he ran out of room while rallying boldly at a one-mile distance, and that rival is listed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Hall of Fame.

Snap Decision is rounding into top form for a dangerous trainer and picks up the hottest rider on the grounds.

I’m expecting a big effort.