February 19, 2015
Castellano earns Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week
Javier Castellano earned his second straight Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week title by leading the nation with twelve wins including the Grade III Hurricane Bertie Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The award goes to the week’s outstanding jockey in the opinion of a panel of industry experts and the public consensus.

Castellano posted 12 wins, 6 seconds, and 3 thirds in 29 starts for earnings of $341,620 during the week and made the most out of his only stakes mount by winning aboard Merry Meadow by an impressive 9 1/2 lengths. After being bumped at the gate, Castellano piloted the 5-year-old mare into the lead at the half-mile mark and never looked back finishing the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.97.

The 37 year-old native of Venezuela continued his dominance over the ultra-competitive Gulfstream Park jockey colony by leading with 41 wins and $1,827,855 in earnings through February 15th. He is scheduled for mounts in all seven of Gulfstream’s stakes on Saturday, including Twilight Eclipse in the Mac Diarmida Stakes (GII) and Kentucky Derby hopeful Juan and Bina in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (GII).  Read more . . .

People’s Choice: The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a blue ribbon panel of industry experts. Now, each Monday, any racing fan can cast a vote that will be aggregated for a voice on the selection panel. Visit JockeyTalk360.com on Monday for details.

Who's Hot

Roberto Alvarado JrRoberto Alvarado Jr. (Parx Racing) is the leading rider by winning percentage of all riders who won 3 or more races during the week ending February 15. Alvardo won 3 out of 5 starts  for a 60% success rate. Jennifer Whitaker (Portland Meadows), Daniel Aguilar (Rillito Park), Joel Rosario (Gulfstream Park) and Gustavo Larrosa (Charles Town) all hit a 50% clip. Whitaker and Aguilar both won 4 out of 8 starts, while Rosario and Larrosa both won 3 out of 6. See the week’s top jockeys by winning percentage here.

Jockey of the Week Javier Castellano (Gulfstream Park) led the week’s standings by number of wins with 12. Juan Hernandez (Golden Gate) won 8 races, while four riders, Ricardo Santana Jr. (Oaklawn Park), Ry Eikleberry (Sunland Park), Angel Ortega Stanley (Mahoning Valley Race Course), and Leonel Camacho Flores (Portland Meadows), each won 7 times to share third in the standings. See the week’s  top jockeys by wins here.

Mike Smith (Santa Anita/Fair Grounds) was the week’s leading rider for earnings with $758,668. He was followed by Paco Lopez (Gulfstream Park) with $532,020 and Irad Ortiz Jr. (Aqueduct/Gulfstream Park) with $348,218. See the week’s top jockeys by earnings here.

Omar ReyesOmar Reyes is leading the Quarter Horse standings for both wins and earnings in 2015 with $469,286 from 135 starts and 39 wins to date. Rodrigo Vallejo is next for earnings with $445,231 and Shanley Jackson ranks third with $366,121.

Raul Ramirez Jr. has won 22 races for second place in the AQHA win standings, while David Alvarez is third with 20 winsKeep up with all the AQHA leaders here . . .


Risen StarQuiz #20
Q. This Saturday’s Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds dates back to 1989, and four riders have won it more than once. Who is the only jockey to win the Risen Star three times?

A) E.J. Perrodin
B) Javier Castellano
C) Shane Sellers
D) Robby Albarado

If you know the answer, you might win autographed goggles from Gary Stevens in JockeyTalk360 Quiz #20.

Congratulations to Rosalie Trinsey of Philadelphia whose name was drawn from correct answers in Quiz #19.

Gary StevensStevens Scores 5,000th North American Victory
Relief was clearly in the eyes of Gary Stevens Feb. 13 at Santa Anita Park.

Family and friends have been coming out to the California track every day he’s had a mount since his last win on Avanzare in the Arcadia Stakes (gr. IIT) Jan. 31, hoping they would catch his North American win No. 5,000. It was beginning to wear on the 51-year-old Hall of Fame jockey.

On his only mount Friday, the wait was over.

Stevens, aboard 4-5 favorite Catch a Flight, took over the lead in the stretch after trailing in fifth after a half mile. Catch a Flight held off hard-closing Sammy Mandeville by a neck to win a 1 1/8-mile allowance/optional claiming event.  Read more . . .

Zac Purton's hard work has paid off in Hong Kong. Photo: Kenneth Chan

Zac Purton’s hard work has paid off in Hong Kong. Photo: Kenneth Chan

Hong Kong offers appeal, challenges
The licensing announcement on Monday had a fairly odd look to it, with three club jockeys soon to leave and only one new apprentice rider declared as coming in.

While it is an ongoing situation and we expect a young Melbourne-based jockey to be licensed any day now for the final part of this season, what has been going on behind the scenes shows how tough it is to find candidates deemed perfectly suitable.

There are suitable jockeys available, but the key words are perfectly suitable.

While the suggestion is frequently wheeled out that a ticket to ride in Hong Kong is a privilege, it is a privilege many do not want.   Read more . . .

Ramon GuceRamon Guce Registers 1,000th Victory
Jockey Ramon Guce won his 1,000th North American race the evening of Feb. 14 when he guided favored A B C Me Awesome to victory in the first race at Los Alamitos Racecourse.

A native of the Philippines, the 47-year-old Guce is a longtime regular at Los Alamitos, where he splits time between riding Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses. He estimates he also won more than 2,500 races in the Philippines, where he was the nation’s top rider in 1999.  Read more . . .

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 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, Turf Publicists of America and racing fans.

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