Javier Castellano picked up his second straight Eclipse Award in January and he’s showing no signs in 2015 that he won’t be a threat for a third consecutive crown as North America’s outstanding jockey.
Castellano rides Daredevil in Saturday’s Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park, a race originally scheduled for last weekend but moved when racing was called off midway through the card due to heavy rains.
He rode the 3-year-old son of More Than Ready to victory in the Grade 1 Champagne last fall at Belmont Park, a victory that stamped the colt as a top contender for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. Daredevil didn’t factor at all in the Juvenile, finishing last of 11 after a wide trip.
Castellano was a guest of Mike Penna on the Horse Racing Radio Network‘s Equine Forum last weekend to talk about Daredevil and some of his other top mounts, which also includes the unbeaten Khozan.
“Unfortunately for some reason he didn’t show up in the Breeders’ Cup,” Castellano said. “He’s come a long way and is doing really phenomenal right now. Training so well. … I like the way he’s been doing and I’m really looking forward (to the Swale).”
Daredevil will break from the rail in the eighth-horse Swale, the same post he was assigned when the race was originally drawn.
Castellano was aboard Khozan for his two victories – a 3 3/4-length maiden score Jan. 24 and a 12 3/4-length destruction in allowance-optional company Feb. 22. He’ll ride the Distorted Humor colt again in the Grade 1 Besilu Stables Florida Derby later this month and is looking forward to the assignment.
“The first time I rode him he was impressive,” Castellano said. “… In the future he’s going to be a really great horse. Second time he proved a lot. With the way he did it last time I believe that, with the top, top horses in the country, and we don’t see too many horses like that. Very fortunate to be on the horse. First of all I appreciate all of the opportunities that Mr. Pletcher and all the team, they give me the opportunity to ride those kinds of horses.”