Jockey Javier Castellano guided a heavily bet favorite out of trouble and on to victory in the Breeders Cup Mile, then withstood a claim of foul in the Breeders Cup Distaff race after finishing first to get things started at this weekend’s Championship races held at Keeneland Racecourse. That great day of riding helped lead to him being voted the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for October 26th – November 1st. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
Pinched a bit at the start the speedy Liam’s Map raced an uncharacteristic fourth early in the Dirt Mile as Bradester set the pace. Castellano, now a six-time Breeders’ Cup winner, said he had planned to go to the lead early. Liam’s Map was boxed inside early but did appear to be comfortable throughout.
“Unfortunately he didn’t break sharply,” Castellano said. “In this game you have to a Plan B. I think the key was patience. He showed a lot of patience. He waited behind horses and it was phenomenal. He showed great skill. He can run on the pace or off the pace. I had to fight a little to put him behind horses, but when he was in the clear, he exploded.
Javier would come back two races later capturing the Breeders’ Cup Distaff from off the pace aboard Stopchargingmaria for trainer Todd Pletcher . With the victory, Pletcher and jockey Javier Castellano completed a sweep of the two Breeders’ Cup dirt races on the card before a record Breeders’ Cup Friday crowd of 44,947.
After rating mid-pack for half the race Stopchargingmaria rallied in the lane then held off Stellar Wind by a neck and withstood a review by the stewards to score a close victory in the $2 million Distaff.
“You always get scared when this happens because it’s such a big race and you don’t want to get taken down, but I did nothing wrong,” Castellano said of the inquiry. “My horse ran a great race, and I kept a straight path and was keeping the horse straight.”
Javier also showed he can get it done on the turf when he scored earlier on the Friday card aboard 16-1 longshot Tweet Kitten in the $100,000 Bryan Station Stakes.
For the week Castellano had six winners from 28 starts with three second place finishes and four third placings. His total earnings for the week were $2,736,805
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 Jockeys’ Guild 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.