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

WEEK FIVE AT THE SPA:

Javier CastellanoWell, this week all I can say is kudos to the guys working the gate at Saratoga.  If they hadn’t acted as quickly as they did I may have been really hurt last Friday when my horse, Race and Shine, broke through the gate before the start.  I’m not sure, I think there was a lot of noise, and he just bolted and I flew through the air over his head.  If they hadn’t caught my horse, I could have easily been crushed. I hit my shoulder, but, thank God, I was okay and the horse was okay. But I tell you those guys really saved me.  I got the wind knocked out of me and I was a little sore, but I was able to ride the rest of the weekend.

Good thing because I was really looking forward to riding Ironicus in the Fourstardave the next day, even though we just missed the win.  It was hard to be nosed out like that by Grand Arch–it was so close, but, unfortunately, the way the race developed it was a disadvantage to a horse that likes to come from far behind like he does. In the beginning, I knew I had to save some ground because I was going to have to go around horses in the last turn, which is what we did, swinging five wide. Still, I really thought I was going to catch them, but he just couldn’t. It was just a little too much to ask of him.  But I wasn’t disappointed.  He’s a really nice horse and I’m looking forward to his future. The Breeders’ Cup is my goal; I really think I can get it done with him.

With the Fourstardave behind me I have been gearing up for the grade 1 Alabama on Saturday.  I have been working the filly Embellish the Lace in the mornings and I have been so happy with the way she is training.  We will take on three fantastic fillies in the Alabama, but I have to say I think she will be very competitive. She didn’t have the best result in the Mother Goose her last time out, but I believe she’s improving. Still Curlalina, Lovely Maria and I’m a Chatterbox will present a formidable challenge. Can’t wait.

Meanwhile, it’s a little early to think about, but the chatter about American Pharoah and the Travers Stakes has quieted down quite a bit in the last two days. Bob Baffert is still not certain his horse will run and suddenly everyone has just stopped talking—waiting for the final work and the final word, I guess.  I will be riding Keen Ice in the race, the horse that has come the closest to the Triple Crown winner…but more on that next week.