April 23, 2024

Javier Castellano – 2016 Outstanding Jockey; Luis Ocasio – 2016 Outstanding Apprentice Jockey

Javier Castellano - Keeneland/Coady Photography

Javier Castellano easily outpaced rivals by earnings once again in 2016, finishing more than $3 million clear of second with a $26,826,241 bankroll, and the 39-year-old journeyman was honored with his fourth straight Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey.

A native of Venezuela, Castellano began riding in the United States in 1997 and joined Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey (2000-03) as the only jockey to win four consecutive Eclipse Awards.

He accumulated 300 wins from 1,418 starts in 2016, a 21% strike rate.

Based at Gulfstream Park during the winter and New York the rest of the year, Castellano counted multiple Grade 1 winner Flintshire and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine New Money Honey among his notable mounts in 2016. He rides Connect, who finished the year with victories in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2)and Cigar Mile (G1), and also guided Destin to a nose second in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and Keen Ice to a third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

Castellano has led all North American jockeys by earnings the last four years, including a record $28,120,809 in 2015, and he also finished first by wins in 2013 and 2015. He’s won at least 300 races the last five years.

Luis Ocasio, who made a significant impact at Parx after arriving from Puerto Rico in March, received the Eclipse Award for Apprentice Jockey.

Ocasio led all apprentices by wins (110) and earnings ($2,867,000) in 2016. He wound up second in the Parx standings by the end of the year, winning 85 races at the Pennsylvania track.