Who needs to stand around the Paddock or rail at Saratoga Race Course to get jockey autographs, when they can do it right in Downtown Saratoga Springs? The phenom Ortiz brothers, José and Irad—who just happen to be gracing saratoga living’s latest “The Races!” issue cover—will be doing an exclusive autograph session, along with celebrated Travers Stakes poster artist Greg Montgomery, at Impressions of Saratoga‘s The Dark Horse Mercantile on Monday, July 30 from 7-8pm. The best part? SL‘s hooked up Dark Horse with 200 copies of our latest issue for fans to have signed.
Now, I’m going to assume you’ve read Teresa A. Genaro’s wonderful cover feature on the Ortizes already, but if you haven’t, here’s a quick recap: The pair, who hail from Puerto Rico, have absolutely destroyed in the jockey rankings, racking up a combined 3500 wins, 22 riding titles, 2 Belmont Stakes wins and 5 Breeders’ Cup victories—and they’re only in their 20s. They regularly compete against each other in races across the country—including right now, daily, at Saratoga Race Course. Greg Montgomery, on the other hand, has been the official poster artist for the Travers Stakes since 1986—the longest-running series by a single artist for a single event in racing history—and will also be at the event signing his posters, notecards and books.
The signing at the aforementioned Dark Horse Mercantile—Impressions of Saratoga’s new spinoff store that opened last month in Downtown Saratoga—promises to be one of the highlights of the track season, as well as a fantastic fundraising opportunity for the Race Track Chaplaincy of America – New York (RTCANY) and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). “We used to do jockey signings all the time years ago, and it’s been hard to set them up the past few years,” says Maddy Zanetti, Co-owner of Impressions of Saratoga and one of the organizers of the signing. “When [the charities] said the Ortiz brothers wanted to do it, we said, ‘Oh yeah, definitely, that’d be great!’ And they wanted to do it at the new store. So we were able to do it Monday night. We just started planning it yesterday.”
The RTCANY provides Saratoga Race Course’s backstretch community with recreational and social service programs, educational opportunities and some nondenominational religious services. Working at Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga, RTCANY serves over 3500 employees of the NY circuit. As for the PDJF, it’s an independent charitable organization that provides financial assistance to jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. Since 2006, the PDJF has distributed nearly $9 million in aid and currently supports some 60 former riders.
There’s a minimum $10 donation for the July 30 signing, with all proceeds split between RTCANY and PDJF. As noted above, 200 copies of saratoga living’s “The Races!” issue, which features photographer Susie Raisher’s incredible black-and-white cover portrait of the Ortiz brothers, will be available for signing, and guests are free to bring their own pictures or memorabilia to have signed—and are even encouraged to take a selfie with the brothers. You won’t want to miss out!