‘Really? I Did That?’ Castellano Hoping To Add To Record Six Travers Wins

Global Thoroughbred and Top Racing’s Grade 3 Peter Pan runner-up Caracaro, trained by Gustavo Delgado, worked six furlongs under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano in 1:15.99 Saturday morning on the Saratoga main track in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., shortly after the renovation break.

The lightly-raced colt moved easily through splits of 26.2, 50.1 with a long gallop out past the wire.

“He’s a good mover. Today, it wasn’t about looking for time, it was more like a two-minute lick starting from the three-quarters and letting him gallop out,” said Castellano. “He just ran three weeks ago, so today was a good maintenance work. He galloped out beautiful past the wire but I didn’t let him overdo it. He handled the track well. He did everything the right way today.”

The Uncle Mo bay, a $95,000 Keeneland November Sale purchase, followed up his January 11 maiden win at Gulfstream with a strong second off the layoff in the July 16 Grade 3 Peter Pan, earning 20 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

Castellano has won the Runhappy Travers a record six times having captured the Mid-Summer Derby with Bernardini [2006; 2-5, $2.70*], Afleet Express [2010; 7-1, $16], Stay Thirsty [2011; 5-2, $6.80*], V.E. Day [2014; 19-1, $40], Keen Ice [2015; 16-1, $34] and Catholic Boy [2018; 7-1, $16.20].

“I really love this race. To me, it’s one of the best races in the country. It always has the best 3-year-olds,” said Castellano. “All jockeys and trainers are all trying to win a race like the Travers. I’m very fortunate to be a part of its history winning with six horses. Even myself, when I say that number, I say, ‘Really? I did that?’ I’ve been so lucky and I’ve had a lot of support from my agent, the trainers and owners who put me on horses with opportunities to win these big races.”

While Bernardini and Stay Thirsty were favorites, Castellano has also found Travers success with longshots including V.E. Day, who nosed out Wicked Strong in 2010, and Keen Ice, who upset 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah to end his eight-race win streak.

“You have to be patient and confident in both yourself and the horse to put everything together and have a good result,” said Castellano. “Some of the winners were favorites like Bernardini and Stay Thirsty, but Afleet Express was a longshot and V.E. Day was a longshot that paid big. And then American Pharoah came and we won with Keen Ice.”

To add to his Runhappy Travers ledger, Castellano and Caracaro will have to topple another strong favorite in Grade 1 Belmont Stakes hero Tiz the Law, but the Hall of Fame rider said he is cautiously optimistic.

“It’s not an easy race to win,” said Castellano. “You need to time it right and you don’t want to overdo it early because it’s not going to pay off. You have to be patient and ride like they are the best horse in the race.

“Tiz the Law is the horse to beat, but you never know,” added Castellano. “American Pharoah was supposed to be unbeatable that day, but this is horse racing and you just never know.”


The post ‘Really? I Did That?’ Castellano Hoping To Add To Record Six Travers Wins appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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