Javier Castellano To Ride West Coast In Breeders’ Cup Classic

by | 10.10.2017 | 9:53am
Stronach Stables' Shaman Ghost and jockey Javier Castellano win the Grade I $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap

Trainer Bob Baffert appears to have riders locked in for his four likely starters in the Breeders' Cup Classic Nov. 4.

The Daily Racing Form reports that Javier Castellano has picked up the mount on West Coast for the 10-furlong contest. He replaces Mike Smith, who rode the colt to victory in both the G1 Travers and G1 Pennsylvania Derby. Smith is sticking with defending Breeders' Cup champion Arrogate.

Baffert told the Form that the decision to go with Castellano was made after discussing it with Gary West, who owns West Coast with his wife, Mary.

Baffert indicated that Martin Garcia would ride Collected and Drayden Van Dyke would be on Mubtaahij, should those two horses run in the Classic as well.

  • Ida Lee

    I guess you can say, without fear of being contradicted, that Baffert finds himself with an “embarrassment of riches” for the Classic.

    • dan gable

      Now gets best jockey in the land – winner!

      • Ida Lee

        Yep, the riches keep getting more embarrassing ….

      • Eric

        He got Jose Ortiz?

  • Al Milano

    If I owned Gun Runner I would definitely take on Baffert at Del Mar, but having said that there is a good chance the horse won’t even hit the board. Given the running styles and intensity with which Baffert’s runners engage, a couple of them will look GR in the eye early and take away any ‘finish’ he might have.

    I’ll bet a Baffert tri box for grins and possibly profit.

    • ben

      Gun Runner has to run his own race. Than he might win. His connections are no dumbs.

      • Meydan Rocks

        You’re right. His connections aren’t dumb but they also saw what at least one Bob’s horses can do up close.

        That being said, what a stage to win at this distance for the first time ever for Gun Runner. Pretty daunting task but doable.

    • Meydan Rocks

      “intensity with which Baffert’s runners engage”.

      I couldn’t have said this better myself. There is no breathing room at the top.

    • Ruffian31

      Gun Runner doesn’t need the lead to be successful, whereas Collected does. With West Coast and Diversify in there as well, this pace won’t be slow early. Gun Runner will have a perfect trip stalking if the pace gets hot early.

      • Al Milano

        I don’t mean to be insulting, but that’s a simplistic way to view any race. If a horse is forced to run faster than he is capable of doing, he will tire. For example, American Pharoah didn’t lose the Travers because Keen Ice was better than he was that day. Frosted made him run faster than he wanted to and he tired, pure and simple. Baffert is going to have some real burners who will make this race faster than Gun Runner has had to run in winning, stalking the pace or otherwise. I’m only guessing (this is not a completely predictable business) that he will tire. IMHO he’s been beating tomato cans up until now, impressively, but big deal. They are not at Arrogate’s level….and neither is GR.

        • discopartner

          Gun Runner’s the one who runs fast paces, not Bob Baffert’s horses. For years Baffert has been running horses at a moderate pace, trying to wire fields. Gun Runner, on the other hand, is a throwback to horses who actually run fast the whole race. He’s faster than your Baffert’s horses. He got a little bit faster this summer, so his challenge is to stretch that speed to 10 f. When you have the goods, racing is about speed, not strategy and being tricky.

        • Ruffian31

          Everyone keeps knocking Gun Runner for beating nothing, yet no one criticizes everyone for ducking him. But then excuses pile up when Arrogate loses to similar mentioned tomato cans. People can’t have it both ways. His connections made no secret where GR would run and everyone, including Arrogate ducked him after Dubai. Sure the pace can be lively in the BC, but GR is the most adaptable in that sense and the race may not work out like everything thinks (2012 and 2014 anyone?). He’s got a lot going for him and Arrogate has a lot stacked against him. We’ll see what happens come BC day.

          • Al Milano

            So bet him.

          • Ruffian31

            I plan to.

      • Al Milano

        And by the way Ruffian, I was there the day that the real Ruffian went down. Look at the film….she took that bad step when the colt ran up alongside her, stunning her because no opponent had ever done that to the her before. If you don’t believe that horses are sentient beings and are capable of emotional reactions then you’re watching something different than I am. Gun Runner will likely start gasping early if Baffert puts this full team up against him.

        • Tango F

          Especially if one of them turns right or left in the first 10 feet, LOL!

        • Ruffian31

          Actually they determined later on when she slammed into the gate and bounced out awkward, that started a chain reaction culminating with mistep. That came from several vets and the books I have.

          • Tango F

            There is no such thing as a “bad step”

          • Ruffian31

            Then you might want to tell that to the vets and her connections who said it does happen.

          • GoodnessMe

            That is one of the most idiotic statements you’ve ever made and that is a pretty high standard Blue.

      • Meydan Rocks

        ” Gun Runner will have a perfect trip stalking if the pace gets hot early.”

        You’re making me misty eyed. This was supposed to be the trip that my Shared Belief was supposed to have. Sigh.

        • Ruffian31

          It’s sad sometimes how what should be right on paper doesn’t seem to translate to reality isn’t it? Some things just can’t be explained some times.

    • Tango F

      don’t waste your money

  • Drew Mollica

    Great job by Mike Lakow picking up this very live mount! He was a super racing secretary that lived through working for NYRA, that alone should put him in Hall of Fame, and now doing a great job in his new career! Bravo!

    • Sampan

      There isn’t a more knowledgable person on the race track than Mike Lakow.
      He always works hard and displays good judgement.
      He is known favorably and well by all of us who have ever dealt with him.
      Best of luck in the BC Classic and other events.

    • Al McBean

      damn drew tell us how you really feel about nyra.

  • Oh_The_Humanity

    Bejarano out in the cold, after working Arrogate and riding for Baffert many times. Business is business I guess.

    • gus stewart

      Agree, this is del mar, like bejarano, but wouldn’t be first choice, guess thet think he is fortunate to be in bobby b barn,, better choics who rode here rosario all day, then other two that are riding lights out here nakatani and desormeux ya think they would crack under pressure or not put yor horse in the right spot

      • Tango F

        none of those other riders would ride for the BB barn

        • GoodnessMe

          LOL. They do, have and will ride for him anytime he calls. Its about the horses, not always about Bob. Except for you.

    • William McAlevy

      Maybe the owners don’t like Bejarano, thus picking a East Coast jockey.

      • Tango F

        They liked him last summer!!!

      • discopartner

        Yeah, he should have picked someone from the Middle West or the West Coast.

      • Gflores007

        Another falling out?

        • William McAlevy

          Victor and Bob didn’t work together for years before American Pharaoh.

      • GoodnessMe

        They like him fine, and they asked for him to ride their horse American Freedom in Travers last year and flew him on private plane (not unusual) although I firmly believe it was Baffert that wanted Smith on Arrogate in ’16 Travers….but sounds like Wests unwilling to turn down chance at top jockey in US that Baffert loves to use whenever he can. He might not fit West Coast in BB mind, don’t know. But RB is getting screwed though. BB all about “money riders” that handle the mental stress of being on high profile horses in the biggest race.

        • William McAlevy

          I bet American Freedom in Travers based on Bejarano being on Arrogate on his win in Del Mar. Arrogate was 12-1 in Travers. I was really disappointed after race when Bejarano was upset because he knew that Arrogate was better horse, he said that after race. I wish I knew that before my wager. What odds would you have Arrogate in Breeders Cup, based on his 2 previous efforts at Delmar? ? I would need 3-1, but since Arrogate being retired after reaching he might be 3-5 odds.

          • GoodnessMe

            I think he will be about 2-1. But I’m not a great gauge of that and of course it depends on faint make up of field.

        • William McAlevy

          Sorry, retired after Breeders Cup.

    • Tango F

      it is a real slap in his face after he didn’t get to ride Arrogate in last year’s Travers

  • Roger

    Why wouldn’t Collected run in The Classic – beat Arrogate in the Pacific Classic AT DMR – Win and Your IN Race.

    • Whynotwest

      Because he won’t beat him twice …to answer your question.

    • frank graziano

      Garcia is scheduled to ride Collected. Read above again.

      • Whynotwest

        I think he was asking why they would even consider not running him in regards to the last sentence in the article.

  • Candy Chitty

    Now this will be an exciting race. Whoever wins will win over the very best horses out there, namely Baffert’s horses. I’m rootin’ for Arrogate again.

  • William McAlevy

    I guess he needs all his guns, to beat Gun Runner. All Baffert’s Classic Contenders can win this race. Mike Smith couldn’t drop Arrogate for West Coast, but I wonder what his opinion of both horses…hmmm. I still don’t believe Arrogate likes the Del Mar racetrack based on 3 loses there.

    • frank graziano

      Just a guess, but maybe Mike was promised a breeders share in Arrogate, just like Victor with Chrome.

      • GoodnessMe

        Or maybe Mike has a Plan B;-)

    • jarmstead

      William… Arrogate has won “once” at Del Mar. He lost twice there. He won his 3rd race in August of 2016 at Del Mar. He then left CA and snapped off that Travers victory from the #1 hole with Mike Smith. In fact, Baffert had the Exacta, 1-2 in that race.

    • GoodnessMe

      2 losses, a bad 4th and a good 2nd.

    • Tango F

      You brought out the Bob Squad … LOL!

  • Whynotwest

    Where are the fools who suggested Mike Smith would hop off of Arrogate in favor of another horse?

  • Rocco Depasquale

    Pretty sweet back up jockey. Won’t matter though. This is gun runner ‘s race to lose

  • J

    Gun Runner is going to Win.
    But, Second Money Isn’t Chopped Liver.

  • Tango F

    Poor Rafael …

  • jarmstead

    Could this be “4 in a row” for Baffert? Bayern/2014, American Pharoah/2015, Arrogate/2016, and 3-4 more “entries” in 2017 would suggest that even Baffert feels that Arrogate isn’t going to run that well at Del Mar. Even with 12 total entries, Baffert might have 25%-30% of the field covered.

    There are 3 jockeys that have busted me out of more Pick 4’s & Pick 5’s: Castellano and the Ortiz Brothers. Over time, Castellano has the lead for knocking me out, but; the Ortiz Brothers are slowly closing that gap.

    Javier has been slipping a bit lately. I desperately needed him to get that #2 horse home in 3rd last Saturday at Keeneland (or the #1, #4, #7, or #8). I had keyed the 9 w/the 1,2,4,5,7,8 (in first and second) and pressed ALL for 4th. It might not have paid $900 + but, it would have better than the large $0.00 I received on my +$24.00 bet.

    Speaking of which, they haven’t fixed the Tote Machines for the new rules on “Signers” yet. At least not here in AZ.

  • David Worley

    As disappointing as Arrogate’s form has been in late summer-early fall, it has made for quite a good betting race in the Classic. By post time there could 3-5 horses in the gate with legitimate shots to win. Had Arrogate maintained form, we’d be talking about who you are putting 2nd in your exacta with the big A on top.

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