Jockey Javier Castellano pulled off a stakes winning triple this weekend at “The Spa” that included a Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3 race. That effort helped him win the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for July 26th – August 2nd. 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.
Castellano kicked off his back-to-back stakes wins on Saturday at Saratoga by just getting the bob in on the wire aboard Rock Fall for trainer Todd Pletcher in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap. That perfectly timed finish was quickly followed with an artful ride in the next race, the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap.
After waiting patiently early on in the Bowling Green, Castellano aboard the Twin Creeks Racing Stables homebred Red Rifle, moved into the two path at mid-stretch after saving ground the entire race. Castellano knew he had one final gear and bravely punched through a line of horses on his way to a second straight graded stakes win. On Friday, Javier expressed in his Saratoga blog how excited he was to hop aboard Red Rifle and his confidence in stepping up into Grade 1 company for the first time.
Javier, who is currently the second leading rider at Saratoga after two weeks, took on the leading rider John Velazquez in the featured event on Sunday. The Grade 3 $200,000 Shuvee Handicap was a two horse race from the get-go between champion Untapable and multiple Grade 1 winner Stopchargingmaria, with the latter edging clear in the final sixteenth to win under Castellano.
“I just took back a little bit,” Castellano said. “The most important thing about my position is that I was outside. I was able to choose where I wanted to be and it worked out great today. Good post, good setup, and turning for home, the filly was much the best.”
For the week Castellano had 8 wins, 8 seconds and 6 thirds from 42 starts. He was second in earnings for the week with $909,430.
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.