Javier Castellano, a Venezuelan jockey who makes us all proud to be one.
This champion was born in the state of Zulia, on October 23, 1977.
Horse riding becomes the center of his life, and he begins his first races in Maracaibo.
Later he traveled to the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, to compete at the Hipódromo La Rinconada, in 1996.
A year later he is offered to travel to the United States to ride and does not waste the opportunity.
In this way, in 1997, Javier Castellano moved to American soil where he rode on the racetracks in South Florida until 2001.
Sometime later he moved to compete in the racing circuit of the state of New York.
For the year 2004 he won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and was awarded the Eclipse Award 2004, for Horse of the Year.
Undoubtedly, the rise of Javier Castellano has been constant and perseverance has paid off. In Venezuela and the United States Javier Castellano has proven to be a frontline rider.
Javier Castellano today has once again become the proud rider of Venezuela. On May 7, 2023, he won the Kentuchy Derby. Recall that the Kentucky Derby is the first race of the American triple crown.
The Kentucky Derby is one of the most important races in American horse racing.
Today you will know a little more about the victory of this proud rider of Venezuela.
This victory consolidates the figure of Javier Castellanos, the Venezuelan rider who is already part of the American Equestrian Hall of Fame. Without further ado, let’s get started.
The victory of Javier Castellano, pride rider of Venezuela, in the Kentucky Derby
In the 149th edition of the Kentucky Derby Venezuelans have had the pleasant surprise of the victory of the rider Javier Castellano.
Let’s remember that a year ago Sonny León gave this same surprise to Venezuelans. The victory of Sonny León was even more surprising if possible, because this young rider did not have a career as long as that of Javier Castellano.
Make no mistake though, Sonny Leon had proven he deserved to be there in the Kentucky Derby.
Venezuelans are excelling in American equestrian and lecturing on horse racing.
In this race, he had two great supporters, the Venezuelan horse trainer Gustavo Delgado and Mage, the foal who led Castellano to victory.
Javier Castellano takes 10% of the prize, which represents 186 thousand dollars. Meanwhile the owner of the winning horse takes 1.86 million dollars.
Before continuing with Javier Castellano, let’s get to know a little more about the other protagonists of this victory.
He is a Venezuelan coach who accumulates great victories in the American equestrian. Born in Maracaibo, also the land of Javier Castellano, he has shown that he is no novice.
At 65 years of age, Gustavo Delgado’s professional career has been very successful:
- In Venezuela he had been given the triple crown of Venezuela.
- His career in the United States has allowed him to generate more than 10 million dollars.
With rider Javier Castellano and Gustavo Delgado, they formed a great team of Venezuelans, but now let’s talk about Mage.
Mage, the horse of victory.
This foal didn’t have the statistics in his favor. The forecasts did not put him in any case among the winners. With the bets 15-1 undoubtedly those who trusted this horse took the gift of their lives.
The Venezuelan duo and hard work put Mage at the head of the race coming back from behind. Mage completed the race of just over a mile in 2 minutes 1 second and 57 hundredths.
The emotion of Javier Castellano
Javier Castellano made his dream and that of his family come true. It is that the equestrian carries it in his veins because his brother, his father and his uncle are in this world.
Javier Castellanos thanks to this victory confirmed what his professional career and his presence in the Equestrian Hall of Fame already recognized him, that he is a winner.
Some phrases of the rider Javier Castellano when celebrating the victory:
- “It took me a long time to finally get it”: recalling that he had already participated in the Kentucky Derby on 15 previous occasions.
- “I never give up; I always strive and do the right thing”: His perseverance led him to obtain a victory that made all Venezuelans happy.
- “Mage did very well today, he is a small horse with a big heart”: From humility always recognizing the role of those who accompany him in victory.
- “When I arrived in the United States, my first dream was to go to the Kentucky Derby”: Confirming that, thanks to this victory, he made his dream come true.
Javier Castellano’s next challenge, the Preakness Stakes 2023
Javier Castellano’s victory took many people by surprise. For other equestrian fans it is the expected result behind a race as spectacular as that of Javer Castellano.
The Preakness Stakes is the second race of the triple crown and the one that marks the possibility of obtaining a triple crown or not.
Recall that last year the Venezuelan Sonny Leon riding Rich Strikes gave the fans of the equestrian a surprise by winning the Kentucky Derby. However, the pair did not run the Preakness Stakes.
This year 2023 things will be different because Javier Castellano along with Mage will participate in the Preakness Stakes, giving him the possibility of winning and emerging as the possible winner of the American triple crown.
Castellanos’ career has long made Venezuelans proud, but this year could give us much greater joy. Javier and Mage are not among the favorites, but they could give a surprise.
We hope that on May 20, 2023 we will receive a great surprise with the most important race for Javier Castellano.
Javier Castellano’s Career in Venezuela
Javier Castellano’s career in Venezuela is unknown. This is because his career as a jockey in Venezuela was limited to one year when he was only 19 years old.
Before that he had made his initiation in horse racing in Maracaibo. But it was in Caracas, at the Rinconada racecourse where it is considered that he formally began his sports career.
The talent of the Venezuelan Jockey led him to quickly move to the United States at just 20 years of age. That would be where he would find the necessary challenge to grow his ability.
This made him make the most of his professional lifetime, allowing him to achieve great achievements.
This jockey is one of the most respected in the United States for his dedication and achievements.
He has been awarded several times and his career is one of the cleanest in the equestrian medium.
It is the pride of Venezuela where it stands.
In his personal life we can tell you that he is married to the American Abby Meyocks, and they have 3 children.
The Creole jockey’s father-in-law is none other than Terry Meyocks, national director of the Jockeys’ Guild.
Awards and recognitions
This is one of the few Venezuelans who has won four consecutive years the Eclipse Award, editions: 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.
World Hipism Award, as the best rider in the United States.
Javier Castellano’s name has been written in the Hipismo Hall of Fame since 2017.
Castellano is the second Venezuelan to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, after Ramon Alfredo Dominguez.
Best Jockey in the United States
This Zulian jockey was recognized in 2017 as one of the best jockeys in the United States.
Awarded as the best rider of the year on the grass track during the 2017 season in that country.
The award was presented on the annual meeting of the Jockeys’ Guild.
It is sponsored by Betfair US at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Likewise, it occupies the second place in the general statistic of money earned with 24,481,480 dollars in the United States.
Important equestrian competitions in which Javier Castellano has participated:
- Dubai Golden Shaheen (2005).
- Connaught Cup Stakes (2006)
- Preakness Stakes (2006).
- Woodbine Oaks (2008).
- Canadian International Stakes (2008)
- Preakness Stakes (2017)
- Kentucky Derby (2018).
- Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park (2019).
Castellanos in the Kentucky Derby
Javier Castellanos with his victory in the Kentucky Derby closes a stage of emotion for him and for all Venezuelans.
Javier Castellanos’ previous appearances in the Kentucky Derby were always very exciting.
Not so often do we see other Venezuelans in such important jousts as this one.
And if that were not enough, the Creole had already arrived previously in the third position. Podium for Venezuela! A third place that although it is not the first place speaks very well of the Venezuelan equestrian.
It leaves the country and its riders standing very well, since Javier’s triumph excites other young riders who come behind.
The best reviewed the news as follows: “Audible, at the hands of Venezuelan Javier Castellano, was third in a race played under the heavy rain and the watchful eye of 157,813 spectators.”
Not counting those who heard it on the radio and saw images on social networks.
Which translates into a high impact on the new Venezuelan generations.
Pegasus World Cup
The rider Javier Castellano, was the winner of the third edition of the Pegasus World Cup, held last January (2019), at Gulfstream Park and the distance of 1,800 meters.
The Zulian dedicates this triumph to the country and fills with pride all those who see him as an example for the new generations of athletes.
“Thank God for this important victory. It is one of the most anticipated triumphs of my career and I dedicate it to the Venezuelan people,” says Castellano.
This feat is achieved after crossing the finish line in first place with the exemplary City Of Light, during the special day of the Florida circuit, where he achieves two selective triumphs.
“Everything went as we expected. I took advantage of the good track position to place my driver on the outside and in the final 600 meters he responded to the demands and was able to distance himself from his followers to get the photo that I was missing, “he said.
Javier dominates statistics in the United States
The triumphs of this jockey in the Sig Tipton Co Huracán Bertie, with the Dream Pauline and the Pegasus World Cup with City Of Light, happens to dominate the general statistic of the United States for money earned.
The Creole accumulates the amount of 5,309,664 dollars against 3,954,020 that Irad Ortiz has, winner of the Eclipse Award as the best rider of 2018.
City Of Light was hosted by Michael McCarthy and left Seeking The Soul in second place.
Third finishes the favorite Accelerate who threatened in the last corner and loosened at the end.
The specimens Gunnevera and Kukulkán did not respond as expected in that race that was played on a sand track and muddy track.
However, Gunnevera has made great progress and in March of this year 2019 he competed in the Dubai World Cup where he was third.
3rd rider with more money in USA
Venezuelan rider Javier Castellano has become the third jockey with the most money produced in North American equestrian history.
It has even managed to displace the legendary Pat Day and be located just below two luminaires of the whip, John Velazquez and Mike Smith, which are still in full activity.
At over 40 years of age, the Maracaibo native is currently in his twenty-second season as a professional in the United States.
Castellano made history at the Saratoga Racecourse in 2011. He was the first rider to take the Ruffian (G1), the Personal Ensign (G1), the Ballerina (G1), the Travers (G1) and the Diana (G1) in the same season.
With a total of eight wins in the Breeders’ Cup, Javier Castellano has managed to win at least one world championship race from 2012 to 2017, including the two most recent versions of the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
Castellano family in action
But in the Castellano family not only Javier is the star, so is his brother Abel.
This man, also a lover of horse riding, participated for years as a rider in several competitions…
More now he does it as a horse trainer.
This is what made Javier Castellanos’ victory special, a Maiden Claiming (US$12,500) exclusively for 3-year-old fillies.
The mare with which Javier wins is Nothins Free (15, Flat Out in For Free, by Forestry).
Which is being trained by her brother Abel.
Definitely, Javier Castellano’s passion for horse riding has something of a family. Javier Castellano’s father was also a jockey in Venezuela.
But also, this passion was not only in the heart of Javier Castellano and his father, but also Javier Castellano’s uncle was a jockey in Venezuela.
Undoubtedly, the equestrian passion of the Castellano family is in their blood.
Abel, the coach
By then, February 2018, Javier’s victory represented the 4,849th of his career as a jockey.
“This is very special. We started together here (as riders) 20 years ago. We both won a lot of races here,” Javier said.
Winner of 1,849 races as a rider, Venezuelan Abel Castellano begins his career as a professional thoroughbred horse trainer in 2017.
And the triumph of Javier with his mare added the 6th victory in 22 presentations of his pupils. This being the 1st he achieves at Gulfstream Park.
Gulfstream Park is a racetrack that has seen this pair of rider brothers grow.
Gulfstream Park is the racetrack where Abel debuted as a jockey in 2000. It is also the same hiódromo where he obtained his license as a coach in the winter of 2017.
“It’s very special to ride for him. I thank God for this victory. Hopefully many more will come,” Javier added about that triumph.
Is Javier Castellano retired?
Venezuelan rider Javier Castellano is still active. However, it has reduced the number of presentations significantly.
Between 2020 and 2022 his record of victories remains above 15% of the starts.
It also maintains a podium record of over 40% of starts.
Your current earnings are greater than $10,000 per exit.
However, their annual careers went from close to 1000 per year in 2018 to just under 800 races per year in 2021. And this trend continues in 2022.
Javier Castellano has overcome his stage of greatest productivity, although he does not abandon the races.
Now Javier manages his favorite job and hobby, while keeping his health in top condition.
In the top 3 of the Venezuelan riders 2022.
By July 25, 2022, Javier Castellano is in the top 3 of Venezuelan riders with the most victories in the American equestrian. The Venezuelan riders of the top 3 currently are:
1- Sonny León: This Venezuelan rider has been the surprise of 2022. Called up at the last minute to fill a vacancy in the Kentucky Derby, he took home the top spot. This put him in the media spotlight and has positively transformed his status. This young promise will continue to give much to talk about.
2- Sammy Camaño: Sammy is a rising talent. By May 2022 he had achieved over 1000 career wins in the U.S. He started his career in 2012, however in 2013 he had a fairly low record. Beyond this mishap, the rest of the years has had a more than remarkable performance.
3- Javier Castellano: A legend among Venezuelan riders. He is the second Venezuelan rider to reach the hall of fame. In addition, the four-time eclipse award winner is among the riders with the most wins and wins in the U.S.