(Rider Javier Castellano / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)
From the Gulfstream Park Media Team:
Castellano, 43, is named aboard Jacks or Better Farm’s 3-year-old homebred Sexy Dream, a half-sister to multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire Jackson Bend, in Race 9, a starter/optional claimer for 3-year-old fillies going one mile on the grass.
Trained by Ralph Nicks, Sexy Dream will break from Post 10 in a field of 11. Castellano is represented by agent John Panagot.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to it,” Castellano said. “It’s the first time that I’ve been off for so long, three months, but I’m ready to go. I feel 100 percent and I’m ready to get back to work.”
Castellano won a record five consecutive Championship Meet riding titles at Gulfstream from 2011-12 through 2015-16. During that time, he was voted the Eclipse Award as champion jockey four times, from 2013-16.
“I’m very excited, especially to be at Gulfstream Park. It’s a special place for me,” Castellano said. “It’s my home and I love it. That’s where I first started, in South Florida, to ride horses and hopefully I can get some good mounts and start getting some momentum.”
A winner of 5,328 races and more than $354 million in purse earnings, Castellano had arthroscopic surgery to clean up some debris in his right leg, near the hip, Nov. 16 in New York. He went through physical therapy and returned to Florida earlier this month to start getting on horses.
“I was able to get on some horses and then I had to stop to follow the protocol with the quarantine and everything,” he said. “But I feel good and ready and ready to go back to work.”
Castellano is named on two horses Thursday, Feb. 18 – Let’s Go Stable’s 3-year-old filly Deemed Essential in a maiden special weight for meet-leading trainer Todd Pletcher and Madaket Stables, Kent Spellman and Team Hanley’s All Come True, a 4-year-old filly trained by Graham Motion.
“I can’t wait,” Castellano said. “I am thankful for all the support from the trainers and owners.”