Javier Castellano earned his second straight Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week title by leading the nation with twelve wins including the Grade III Hurricane Bertie Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The award goes to the week’s outstanding jockey in the opinion of a panel of industry experts and the public consensus.
Castellano posted 12 wins, 6 seconds, and 3 thirds in 29 starts for earnings of $341,620 during the week and made the most out of his only stakes mount by winning aboard Merry Meadow by an impressive 9 1/2 lengths. After being bumped at the gate, Castellano piloted the 5-year-old mare into the lead at the half-mile mark and never looked back finishing the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.97.
The 37 year-old native of Venezuela continued his dominance over the ultra-competitive Gulfstream Park jockey colony by leading with 41 wins and $1,827,855 in earnings through February 15th. He is scheduled for mounts in all seven of Gulfstream’s stakes on Saturday, including Twilight Eclipse in the Mac Diarmida Stakes (GII) and Kentucky Derby hopeful Juan and Bina in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (GII).
The son of a former jockey, Castellano got his start in his native Venezuela in 1996. He moved to the United States in June 1997, riding on the South Florida circuit. He moved to New York in 2001 and finished sixth in the standings. The next year, he was second.
In 2004, he won the Breeders’ Cup Classic with Horse of the Year Ghostzapper. Castellano won his first Triple Crown race in 2006 when he won the Preakness with Bernardini.
In 2011, he won 11 Grade I races, more than any other rider that year. On February 24, 2012, he notched up his 3,000th victory, riding Virtuously at Gulfstream Park.
In 2013, he won his first Eclipse Award as top jockey and repeated again in 2014.
JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, the Daily Racing Form, Equibase, the Jockeys’ Guild, the Paulick Report, the Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America.