Javier Castellano (born October 23, 1977 in Maracaibo, Zulia State, Venezuela) is a jockey in American Thoroughbred horse racing. The son of a former jockey, Castellano got his start in his native Venezuela in 1996. He moved to the United States a few months later in June 1997, riding on the South Florida circuit.
Javier's move to New York in 2001 was immediately successful; he finished sixth in the 2001 New York jockey standings and was second in 2002.
In 2004, Javier got his first big break when he was the rider for Frank Stronach's colt Ghostzapper on which he won several major races including the 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic. Ghostzapper was voted the 2004 Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year and named the World's Top Ranked Horse.
In 2006, Javier rode Bernardini for Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Darley Racing, earning his first Triple Crown race victory in the G1 Preakness Stakes. Bernardini went on to be named champion 3-year-old of 2006 with additional wins in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Withers, Jim Dandy Stakes and Travers Stakes.
In 2008, Javier rode 2006 Breeders' Cup Turf winner and Turf Champion Red Rocks to victory over Curlin in the G1 Man of War Stakes on the Belmont Park lawn, issuing the only defeat the reigning Horse of the Year had suffered at that point in the season. He earned his 2,000th win at Calder Race Course on April 28, 2007 aboard Nombre de Dios (Brz) for trainer Mark Hennig.
Javier rode Ave (GB) to victory in the Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (G1), and Afleet Express in the Travers (G1) for major wins in 2010, and won additional 2010 graded stakes aboard Discreetly Mine, Blues Street, New Normal, You and I Forever, Battle Plan, Get Stormy, Interactif, Prince Will I Am, and Miss Keller (Ire). Javier won five consecutive races at Saratoga in 2010 on the third day of the meeting, and three times has won five races on the day at Saratoga.
As one of the top five jockeys in the nation in 2011, Castellano rode G1 winners Ask the Moon (Personal Ensign Invitational Stakes, Ruffian Invitational Handicap), Hilda's Passion (Ballerina Stakes), Stay Thirsty (Travers Stakes), Zagora (Diana Stakes), C.S. Silk (Foxwoods Just a Game Stakes), Get Stormy (Maker's Mark Mile), Lilacs and Lace (Central Bank Ashland Stakes), and Her Smile (Prioress Stakes). Javier had 11 Grade 1 victories in 2011, more than any other rider that year. Other graded stakes winners ridden in 2011 included Union Rags, Right One (FR), Exhi, and Awesome Maria.
He won his first riding title on the New York Racing Association circuit in four years, when he edged Ramon Dominguez by two victories at the conclusion of Belmont Park's fall meet, and finished 2011 on a tear after shifting his tack in December to Gulfstream Park, leading the standings there at year's end. Among all riders, he concluded 2011 fifth in victories with 278, and third in earnings, with his mounts making $15,675,977. Javier rode the 3000th winner of his career February 24, 2012 at Gulfstream Park, guiding Virtuously to a thrilling late-closing victory in the sixth race. On March 16, 2012, Javier tied the record at Gulfstream for most wins during the meet with 97. He shares the record with Jerry Bailey (1996), Wiggy Ramos (1991) and Julio Pezua (1987). On March 17, 2012, Javier broke the record at Gulfstream for most wins during the meet.
On January 18, 2014, Javier won his first Eclipse award as top jockey of 2013.
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