Each week during the Saratoga meet, Cynthia Grisolia sits down with Javier Castellano and puts his thoughts on paper for JockeyTalk360. 


What a scare this week!  On Monday I was poised to win the 9th race with Tweet Kitten, a three-year-old Chad Brown trainee. I could just about see the finish line as he opened up by two lengths, easily holding off Luis Saez and Good Response, and all of a sudden he just spooked and jumped the rail.  I can’t tell you how scary it was­–I was certain we were going down.  But I was lucky, I guess. We were both okay, and the colt finished second.   Jockeys love what we do, but we just don’t think about that risk every day. How could we? We love these horses–they’re beautiful and smart, but they’re unpredictable.  I was so happy to just be able to walk away.

With that behind me I’m really looking forward to this weekend because I have two big races. The highlight of my Saturday will definitely be the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap where I’ll ride Rock Fall. I’m very excited about this colt. He’s a 4-year-old son of Speightstown and we’ve won five in a row.  This is his Saratoga debut and his first time in Grade 1 company but I have a lot of confidence in him. He has shaped up to be a top-level sprinter.

Lastly, I’ll ride Stopchargingmaria in the Shuvee Handicap on Sunday. She’s a real nice filly who won the Allaire Dupont Distaff at Pimlico in May.

But one thing about Saratoga, it’s never all work and no play.  On Monday you’ll find me at the 5th Annual Jockey Karaoke Contest at the Vapor Night Club on Jefferson Street.  The contest begins at 7 pm and is a fundraising event for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. We had so much fun last year, and it was a very successful event, so I just had to do it again.  If you’re in town stop by and look for me, my brother Abel, Johnny Velazquez and Joel Rosario doing one of our favorite songs, “Oh, What a Night”.  We’re going to be the Jersey Boys!