Hall of Famer Castellano Having “Hall of Fame-Like” Meet at Keeneland

(Vekoma, with Javier Castellano up, wins the Blue Grass Stakes)

(Javier Castellano / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

Just a couple of years ago, Javier Castellano was elected and enrolled into Thoroughbred racing’s Hall of Fame as one of the best riders to ever get a leg up in the industry that he loves so well.

This Spring at Keeneland, Castellano has been riding like a guy trying to prove that he still belongs. In the game. In the sport. In the industry. At the top. In the Hall of Fame.

After Sunday’s racing card was completed, Castellano stood tall in the saddle in Lexington, and is completely dominating this meet’s race to become the “Leading Rider.” In just 33 mounts so far, Castellano has 14 wins, 7 seconds and 4 thirds. His win percentage is an amazing .42%, and his horses have hit the board a whopping .76% of the time.

Most importantly, Castellano’s horses have already earned almost $2 million in purses. That’s $2 million. The second leading rider in purses earned? Irad Ortiz, Jr. His horses have earned over $663,000. That’s about $1.3 million less.

Wow.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

A million times wow.

He won the Blue Grass Stakes with Vekoma.

He won the Maker’s 46 Mile with Delta Prince.

He won the Transylvania and the Madison Stakes.

So far, he has won 5 Graded Stakes events in just a couple of weeks.

Amazing.

Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

A million times amazing.

Here’s a look at the top 20 riders this meet:

1Javier Castellano331474$1,905,91442%2576%
2Irad Ortiz, Jr.32485$663,26213%1753%
3Florent Geroux47973$578,20919%1940%
4Paco Lopez11320$544,49527%545%
5Tyler Gaffalione49539$534,20710%1735%
6Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.49469$528,1698%1939%
7Joel Rosario23951$510,73839%1565%
8Luis Saez38661$455,69716%1334%
9Julien R. Leparoux44647$399,36614%1739%
10John R. Velazquez26715$359,97327%1350%
11Miguel Mena19322$251,57116%737%
12Chris Landeros27223$212,7287%726%
13Jose L. Ortiz21254$183,20310%1152%
14Gabriel Saez27222$160,2007%622%
15Corey J. Lanerie46247$150,5784%1328%
16Albin Jimenez20123$145,6745%630%
17James Graham35334$127,3099%1029%
18Adam Beschizza35123$72,0563%617%
19Alex L. Canchari1010$60,0000%1100%
20Jon Kenton Court3010$54,2220%133%

(Stats Courtesy of Equibase)

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

    Full Bio >

More From Gene McLean