Veteran rider Javier Castellano has been voted as the winner of The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week Award. Castellano, who was the Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey in 2013 and 2014, had a very productive weekend. He pulled off a Grade I “double” with scores in both the Friday and Saturday features at Keeneland Racecourse.
He took top honors aboard the Todd Pletcher trained Jack Milton in the Grade I Makers 46 Mile on Friday. He then topped that day by winning the Grade III Ben Ali Stakes on the under card on Saturday before notching another Grade I win when he and Ball Dancing won the Grade I Jenny Wiley Stakes later in the day.
Jack Milton, the beaten favorite in his seasonal debut at Gulfstream Park in February relished the soft going when passing all six of his opponents in less than a quarter of a mile. “I really like the way it set up today,” said Castellano.
Ball Dancing, who began her career in France and has excelled since coming to the U.S. last fall, made short work of her five rivals in the stretch of the $300,00 Jenny Wiley on Sunday with Castellano guiding her out of some early traffic troubles entering the first turn. There were no worries late as she surged to take command coming into the stretch and steadily drew clear to win.
“She’s kind of a European horse – you need to cover up a little bit and save something for the end,” said jockey Javier Castellano. “It really worked out beautiful.”
She improved her record to two wins and two seconds in four starts in the U.S. The 4-year-old daughter of Exchange Rate is trained by Chad Brown for owners William Farish and F. Steve Mooney.
Castellano had an extremely solid week overall with nine wins, three seconds, and two thirds from 33 starts and weekly earnings of $676,311.