Jockey Javier (JJ) Castellano will take off the final six weeks of 2020 to address a minor issue in his right leg and plans to return to race-riding in early- to-mid-January at Gulfstream Park.
On Monday, Castellano will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right leg, near the hip, to clean up some debris in the area. The procedure will be performed by orthopedic surgeon Bryan T. Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.
Castellano said he had been told by doctors that he would need the surgery at some point to avoid potential damage to his hip later in life.
When he was notified that Dr. Kelly, who works with the NHL’s New York Rangers and the NFL’s New York Giants, had an opening next week, he decided now would be the right time to have the procedure.
“He said you don’t want to wait two or three years to do it, because then there could be damage in your hip,” Castellano said. “I don’t have much going on in November, December so I’ll take off part of November and December and come back in January like I always do.”
Castellano, who has ridden, 5,325 Winners in his career, said his goal would be to have some rides under his belt before the Pegasus World Cup card on January 23rd.
Castellano, a four-time Eclipse Award Winner, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017, said the issue in his leg “doesn’t bother me much, a little bit, but not a big deal.”
“If this was the spring or summer, I wouldn’t do it,” he said.
Entering Friday’s Aqueduct card, Castellano had 105 Wins from 624 mounts in 2020, and his purse earnings of $12,222,740 was 8th-highest among North American-based riders.
This year, Castellano Won multiple Grade 1 races aboard RUSHING FALL and VEKOMA.
Castellano, a well-liked and respected member of the east coast jockey colony, is 43 and hopes to ride at least another seven years.
The Daily Racing Blog wishes JJ all the best, and looks forward to seeing him back in the irons come January.