Back at Laurel, Castillo Wins 1,000th Race

The 33-year-old Chilean scores with Veer in first race March 27.

Jockey Oliver Castillo reached 1,000 winners March 27 when he scored a narrow victory aboard Veer in the first race at Laurel Park.

Castillo earned his milestone win for owner Linda Payne and trainer August Martin.

Castillo and Veer raced in last place for much of their seven-furlong journey but down the stretch they passed every other runner in the field to win by a half-length in 1:26. The son of Mecke paid $17.

“I am happy to reach the milestone but it was just another race,” Castillo said. “I treat every race the same whether it is a big or little one.”

A native of Santiago, Chile, Castillo notched his first domestic winner aboard Yeah Ribbon at Tampa Downs 13 years ago. The 33-year-old was a regular in Maryland from 2006-08 and recently returned to the colony with agent Gina Rosenthal after a stint at Penn National.

“Things have been going really well,” added Castillo. “I got married last summer and have a home in Baltimore so when Gina called and asked if I wanted to come back, I jumped at the opportunity.”

About a dozen other members of the jockey colony met the popular rider back in the winner's circle to help celebrate his triumph.

Castillo returned to the winner's circle two other times during the card with Undaunted Spirit ($15 in the fifth race) and Italian Gambler ($13 in the sixth). He is nine-of-48 at Laurel during the current winter meeting.