Jockey Javier Castellano shipped in from his New York base to upset a deep field of three-year-olds at Parx on Saturday capturing the $1,250,000 Gr. 2 Pennsylvania Derby aboard Connect. This win helped him take the Shuffle Bean Coffee Jockey of the Week award for September 19 – 25. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys' Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
Castellano rated his mount sitting fifth or sixth through the early stages of the race and moved when favored Nyquist launched a rally on the outside. Castellano would take a different route than the favorite though when continuing to pick off runners along the rail seizing the lead and held off a late challenge from Gun Runner late to prevail by a half-length.
“This kind of horse, he's a big horse and I think he put it together today, and I'm very satisfied with the way he did it today,” Castellano said.
The connections of Connect were satisfied with the multiple Eclipse Award winning Castellano's performance as well.
Cherie DeVaux, assistant trainer to Chad Brown, said Castellano delivered a great ride.
“He broke really well and found himself in a really good position on the rail, saving all the ground,” DeVaux said. “Javier was really patient with him, took his time with him and made his one run and the horse was really gutsy to hang in there.”
It was back to Belmont for Castellano on Sunday where he would cap off the afternoon winning the late daily double. The first leg was the $125,000 John Hettinger Stakes for New York bred fillies which he won from off the pace with favored Fourstar Crook, who won her sixth straight race when taking Sunday's feature event. His seventh win of the week would come one race later when the native of Venezuela scored with Ten Penny Princess to close out the week of racing in New York.
The three-time Eclipse Award winner scored seven wins from his 30 starts for the week while his mounts hit the board at a rate of 53 percent. He led all riders in North America in both total earnings and stakes earnings.
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