Monday Morning Trainer: Record Man

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The question wasn’t so much if he would break the record, rather when he would break the record.

The he is of course Javier Castellano, now racing’s No. 1 man when the conversation is about single-season earnings. He surpassed the retired Ramon Dominguez’s mark of $25,634,852 just a year ago last Friday at Gulfstream.

Eighteen days – a time frame longer than say a Keeneland meet or a Wimbledon, remained in the year, so immediately the question changed to how much. As in, how much would he break the record by?

Castellano, who won his first Saratoga riding title earlier this year and the frontrunner to collect his first Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey, didn’t waste much time piling onto his record haul this weekend down at Gulfstream Park while much of the East Coast watched on television and dug out from Saturday’s snowstorm.

First he made his record-breaking day even better with a win aboard the returning Zaikov for Todd Pletcher in an optional claiming race. The win for the 3-year-old Distorted Humor colt came after a nine-month layoff following a head-turning maiden win in March at Gulfstream.

Saturday Castellano won the $100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes aboard Heart Stealer for Marty Wolfson and Sunday he won four races, including an optional claimer aboard the highly regarded Coup de Grace for Chad Brown.

The weekend haul put him at $25,890,073 on the season and he and agent Matt Muzikar still have plenty of time to try and crack the $26 million mark.

Read about Javier Castellano’s season at Saratoga.


Hollywood magic

Three days to live. That’s the prognosis this week for Hollywood Park.

Tributes from Turf writers are flooding the Internet and papers (the ones that actually include racing). That’s a sure sign something’s up.

Hollywood wraps its fall meet Sunday after a Friday-Saturday-Sunday card and then it’s no more. You know the story, or at least you should, with the track soon to be razed and developed. More retail, more office space, more residential. Hardly what America, California, Los Angeles needs.

Considering the kind of weekend Jerry Hollendorfer put up as Hollywood hosted its final graded stakes, the Hall of Famer might want to urge them to keep the place open a little longer.

We know that isn’t going to happen, not now and probably not by the next group forced to close a track down (the foal crops are getting a lot smaller, right?). We also know Hollendorfer’s got a pretty good soon-to-be sophomore on his hands in Shared Belief. The Candy Ride gelding ran his record to 3-for-3 with a win in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity, which isn’t quite as rich in history as the track but a pretty good body of work nonetheless.

Shared Belief whipped the field in the 1 1/16-mile Futurity, winning by 5 3/4 lengths in good time, and gives the Californians two pretty solid Triple Crown hopefuls along with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and probable champion New Year’s Day.

Hollendorfer also trained the Futurity’s third-place finisher Tamarando, a California-bred by Bertrando who won the Del Mar Futurity earlier this season and hasn’t done much wrong in his eight starts. He was 1 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up and another son of Candy Ride, 26-1 longshot Candy Boy.

Hollendorfer swept the first three spots two races earlier in the Grade 3 Native Diver with Blueskiesnrainbows, Hear the Ghost and Rousing Sermon. Blueskiesnrainbows was shortening up in the 1 1/8-mile Native Diver after finishing second in last month’s Breeders’ Cup Marathon.

Hollendorfer gave his colleagues a break earlier in the card when he didn’t saddle a starter for the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup, won by the French-bred Lucayan. If you thought the Canadian International was a strong race before the Turf Cup you undoubtedly thought so afterwards. Lucayan finished 12 ¼ lengths behind Joshua Tree in ninth at Woodbine and the Turf Cup’s runner-up, Temeraine, was 4 3/4 lengths back in fifth.


Weekend rundown

The $150,000 Valedictory brought Woodbine’s 2013 Thoroughbred season to a close and it was the locally based Quaesitor that proved the last move was the winning move. The Friends Lake gelding trailed early, just behind 7-10 favorite Eagle Poise, before collaring that rival in the stretch to win by 3 lengths.

Eagle Poise, the 2011 Valedictory winner, carried the banner for a trio from Fair Hill that trekked north of the border for the 1 3/4-mile Valedictory. He was a clear second, while the others from Fair Hill didn’t fair as well. Address Unknown set the pace before retreating after about one circuit of Woodbine’s Polytrack. Tricky Hat never even got the chance to complete a circuit as he was scratched by veterinarians in the preliminaries after kicking a rail heading to the racetrack. …

Aqueduct lost its Sunday card due to the snowstorm, but raced Saturday as the white stuff fell from the sky. The lightly raced 4-year-old Smarty Jones colt Jonesy Boy, the winner of three of five with two seconds, picked up his first stakes win when he took the featured Queens County by a neck over Don Dulce.

Read about Eagle Poise’s journey and his owner’s trek to Woodbine.