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Gulfstream Today 1.9.2013
The Lead: The competition among the jockeys has been as hotly contested as the competition among the horses at Gulfstream Park during the 2012-2013 meeting thus far.
“It gets me even more motivated to put more into it to ride with the best riders in the country,” said Gulfstream’s defending riding champ Javier Castellano after guiding Scofield ($4.40) to victory Wednesday’s third race at Gulfstream. “I think this year is a little tougher, and I’m more motivated to win more races.”
Only four wins separate the first four jockeys in the standings through Wednesday, with Javier Castellano and Joel Rosario deadlocked at the top of the standings with 27 wins each. Luis Saez, who has dominated at Calder in recent years, has made his presence felt at Gulfstream by riding 26 winners. Jose Lezcano, the 2009 titlist at Gulfstream, has visited the winner’s circle 23 times.
The always talented Gulfstream’s jockey colony became even deeper this season with the addition of Rosario, who dominated in Southern California before moving to the East Coast in the spring.
“I’ve had a very good experience and it’s good to be here. I’ve had a lot of people who have given me a lot of chances to ride for them,” said Rosario after scoring aboard Spun Cap ($6.80) in the featured ninth race, a $54,500 turf allowance. “I’m having a good time here and I love it.”
Castellano grabbed an early lead in the jockey’s race last season and was never seriously challenged thereafter while shattering the Gulfstream Park single-season record for victories. The 35-year-old native of Venezuela rode 112 winners, easily eclipsing the old record of 97 shared by Jerry Bailey (1996) and Wigberto Ramos (1991).
“Last year, I broke the record. This year, I’m looking forward to the competition,” he said. “I know it’s better. I’m very proud to ride with John Velazquez, Joel Rosario and a lot of other great riders.”
Who’s Hot: Saez visited the winner’s circle three times on Wednesday, edging closer to the top of the rider’s standings with victories aboard Ribo Bobo ($3.80) in the second race, Stella Girl ($6.60) in the seventh and Smokin Ali ($9.80) in the 10th.
Rosario doubled with victories aboard Tapicat ($5.20) in the fifth and Spun Cap.
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