Castellano, the leading rider in New York in 2013 with 217 victories, won the first five races in which he had a mount, all aboard favorites. Without a mount in race 8 after morning-line favorite Anjaz was scratched from the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap, Castellano made it 6-for-7 aboard North Star Boy.
“When I came here this morning I was kind of disappointed to see my filly scratched from the stakes,” said Castellano, a 33-year-old native of Venezuela. “All my horses today were live but I thought she was my best chance.”
It was the first six-win day for a jockey in New York since the now-retired Ramon Dominguez went 6-for-7 on September 2, 2012, at Saratoga Race Course.
• Left to her own devices on the front end, long shot Inimitable Romanee set a dawdling pace and had plenty in reserve late to hold off Tabreed by one length and spring a 28-1 upset on Saturday in Aqueduct Racetrack’s Grade 3, $200,000 Long Island Handicap for turf fillies and mares.
“I didn’t think there was any real speed in there,” said jockey Chris DeCarlo. “I was pretty sure that if I did make the lead, no one was going to push me because she was 28-1. When I finally dropped her head, she gave me an unbelievable turn of foot. It was like she re-broke out of the gate.”
“She’s a deserving mare, a hard-knocking mare, who deserved to win [a stakes],” said H. Graham Motion, who trains Inimitable Romanee for Gallagher’s Stud. “She had been knocking heads with some hard-knocking fillies. It just goes to show you how tough those New York-breds have been.” (Jon Forbes)
• With the Grade 1 Cigar Mile on November 30 back on her schedule, champion Groupie Doll had her first trip to the track since her Breeders’ Cup victory, jogging a mile and galloping a mile over Belmont Park’s training track.
The two-time winner of the Filly & Mare Sprint will be making her first start for new owner Mandy Pope, who paid $3.1 million for the defending female sprint champion on Wednesday.
“We’re very excited about who bought her,” said trainer William “Buff” Bradley, who had owned Groupie Doll with his 82-year-old father, Fred, and minority partners Carl Hurst and Brent Burns. “We had thought she would be retired immediately. If we had kept her, we knew we’d probably be looking at the Cigar Mile.”
Joining Bradley in accompanying Groupie Doll back to New York were groom Matt Hebert and exercise rider Jada Schlenk.
“Groupie Doll did very well,” said Bradley of the 5-year-old chestnut mare, who is 11-4-4 from 21 starts and has career earnings of nearly $2.5 million. “She was very much into herself and showed a pretty good energy level, which is what we wanted to see.”