Jockey Javier Castellano took his game on the road this weekend chasing the massive purse money available in West Virginia on Charles Town Classic day. It was mission accomplished when he piloted Stanford to a wire to wire victory in the Grade 2, $1.25 million Charles Town Classic on his way to being named the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week Award for the week of April 18th to April 24th. 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.
After just seven editions, the Charles Town Classic has become an annual stop for some of the top horses in the handicap division with its runners racking up a total of 25 wins in Grade 1 events including the Pacific Classic, Santa Anita Gold Cup, Stephen Foster, Metropolitan Handicap and Jockey Club Gold Cup.
The Todd Pletcher trainee previously finished second in the Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper Stakes followed up with another second-place finish in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap. Both of those races were at the one-turn-mile distance. Stanford, and his front-running style, would relish the sharper turns and shorter stretch run at the Charles Town, West Virginia oval.
“I really like the way he did it,” Castellano said of Stanford. “He broke sharply and there wasn’t much speed in the race. He usually just falls into position, and I’m satisfied with how he did it today. I think it’s helpful (the tighter turns) with horses that have speed. I think this race will help the horse go forward.”
The 38-year-old Venezuelan won 17 Grade 1 races on his way to winning his third straight Eclipse Award for Outstanding Rider last year. He is currently the second leading jockey in wins at the Keeneland Spring Meet which concludes this Friday. Castellano is second in total wins among North American riders and leads in total purses won with a total of $5,737,951.
For the week, Castellano finished with five wins from his 21 mounts, adding five second place finishes, and four thirds. His mounts led North America in earnings with $933,738.
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, Horse Racing Nation, 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.