Castellano Sets North American Earnings Mark
Friday the 13th proved memorable, in a good way, for jockey Javier Castellano.
Castellano and Herman Wilensky's I Aint Gonna Lie rallied five or six wide from seventh place early to register a narrow victory in Gulfstream's third race, a six-furlong allowance-optional claiming event for fillies and mares 3 and older.
The winning purse of $29,775 gives Castellano record earnings of $25,655,988 in North America this season, breaking the mark of $25,634,852 set just last season by Ramon Dominguez.
"I am very proud to break the record," Castellano said. "One thing you work for all year round is this moment. I'm very proud to be at the level of Ramon Dominguez. He is such a classy guy.
Castellano is the two-time defending riding champion at Gulfstream, taking the 2012-13 title with 100 wins. He set a single-meet record with 112 victories in 2011-12, passing the previous mark of 97 shared by Julio Pezua (1987), Wigberto Ramos (1991) and Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey (1996).
This year, Castellano has won riding championships at Belmont Park in the spring and fall and Saratoga Race Course in the summer, and was leading the standings at Aqueduct's fall meet when he moved to South Florida for the winter.
"I've been very blessed to ride in New York. The purses are good and they helped me break the record," he said. "I am thankful to participate at Gulfstream with the best jockeys in the winter. To be the consistent leading jockey all year round is very special for me, almost more impressive to me than breaking the money record.
"It's a lot of sacrifice to my family. My wife, my kids, they support me every single day, every single race. I don't have the words to describe how thankful I am and how I appreciate everything. There are so many great riders out there. To be the number one-earning jockey is unbelievable."
Besides winning three grade I races this season with Princess of Sylmar, Castellano secured lucrative wins in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) with Ria Antonia and in the $1 million Louisiana Derby (gr. II) with Revolutionary . Castellano has won 61 stakes and 23 graded stakes this season.
Castellano also leads all riders this year with 345 victories in North America through Friday's third race at Gulfstream.
Copyright © 2014 The Blood-Horse, Inc. All Rights Reserved.