by Mary Rampellini, Daily Racing Form
Javier CastellanoJavier Castellano set a high standard in 2013, when he won his first Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey after establishing a North American record for mount earnings in a year. Castellano again managed to reach significant heights in 2014, and because of his accomplishments, he is an Eclipse Award finalist for outstanding jockey for the fourth time.

Castellano, 37, led all jockeys in North American mount earnings in 2014 with $25,056,464. And while the number did not eclipse his $26,218,107 record, it ranked $3.4 million ahead of the year’s second-leading rider in earnings, Joel Rosario.

Castellano’s win total for 2014 was 315 from 1,365 mounts, second among all riders in North America. His year also included a handful of key riding titles, from the Gulfstream Park championship meet, to a tie atop the spring standings at Belmont Park, to the crown at Saratoga. There also were some thrilling stakes wins along the way, topped by V. E. Day’s nose score in the Travers.

“At the eighth pole, I thought I was not going to pass Wicked Strong,” Castellano told Daily Racing Form right after the Travers. “But the last sixteenth, my horse finished very strong, and I think I caught him in the last jump.”

Castellano won 30 graded stakes in 2014, with John Velazquez being the only other rider to capture as many. Castellano collected nine Grade 1 wins, and they remarkably came aboard nine different horses: Dayatthespa (Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf), Daredevil (Champagne), V. E. Day (Travers), The Big Beast (King’s Bishop), Stopchargingmaria (Coaching Club American Oaks), Real Solution (Manhattan), Coffee Clique (Just A Game), Hard Not to Like (Jenny Wiley), and Constitution (Florida Derby).