It’s getting to be a habit—a very pleasant one—for Javier Castellano, who collected his fourth consecutive Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding jockey.
Since 2013 the Venezuelan native has led the continent in purse earnings each season, and that total reached $26,826,241 for 2016, his 20th year riding in the United States. That total was nearly $3.4 million more than his closest pursuer.
Castellano kicked home an even 300 winners on the season for a 21% strike rate. He won an astounding seven races in 2016 that carried purses of $1 million or more: the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (G3, Gunnevera), Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T, New Money Honey), Pennsylvania Derby (G2, Connect), Longines Sword Dancer Stakes (G1T, Flintshire ), Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes (G1T, Flintshire), Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1, Cathryn Sophia), and Charles Town Classic Stakes (G2, Stanford).
He won additional grade 1 events with Annals of Time in the Hollywood Derby, Connect in the Cigar Mile Handicap, Shaman Ghost in the Woodward Stakes, Sweet Loretta in the Spinaway Stakes, and Cavorting in the Personal Ensign Stakes.
His black-type victories for the year totalled 58.
Castellano, who moved his tack from Florida to New York in 2001, benefits from his association with that circuit’s two top trainers, as he rides extensively for Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown.