Jockey Javier Castellano took advantage of a contested to pace to knock off the Triple Crown champ in Saturday’s Grade 1 Travers Stakes. That well timed ride helped him capture the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week honors. This week’s award was for the week of August 24th to August 30th. 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.
The heavily favored American Pharoah got constant pressure from the very beginning of the Saratoga signature event from Frosted. Castellano, aboard Donegal Racing’s Keen Ice, rated of that pace through the majority of the race while letting those two go at it until mid-stretch. American Pharoah fought hard on the inside to turn back Frosted’s tenacious run as the field headed for home. But just when his rival faded from the challenge, Keen Ice and Javier surged forward in the final strides to win by three-quarters of a length.
The 16-1 shot who had not won since breaking his maiden last September, was on an eight-race losing streak when called upon by Castellano to gather in American Pharoah and win the Travers. The timing proved perfect as that second career win was a big one for the three year old who was second in the Whitney earlier in the meet.
“I followed those two horses, and I just kept tracking and following with them,” said Castellano. “At some point, when turning for home, I saw the horses slow down and start coming back to me, so I knew that I had a chance to win the race. I expected this kind of effort from him today, after I worked him the one time last week. We were a good fit and I thought I had a real good chance to win the race.
Javier’s win on Saturday’s feature made him the winningest Travers rider in history with his fifth victory in that race. For the week, Javier led all riders in total earnings and stakes earnings. He had six winners, five seconds and eight thirds from 42 starts with weekly earnings of $1,610,252.
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.