Hall Of Fame jockey Javier (JJ) Castellano has been out of action since mid-November due to leg surgery. He is set to return to riding this Wednesday, February 17th, at Gulfstream Park.
Castellano, 43, is named aboard 3-year-old, Florida-bred SEXY DREAM, (a half-sister to multiple Graded-Stakes Winning millionaire JACKSON BEND) in Race 9, a starter/optional Claimer for 3-year-old fillies going one mile on the turf.
Trained by Ralph Nicks, SEXY DREAM will break from Post 10 in a field of 11.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to it,” Castellano said. “It’s the first time that I’ve been off for so long, three months, but I’m ready to go. I feel 100 percent and I’m ready to get back to work.”
Castellano Won a record five consecutive Championship Meet riding titles at Gulfstream from 2012 through 2016.
Also during that time period, he was voted the Eclipse Award as Champion jockey four times, from 2013-2016.
“I’m very excited, especially to be at Gulfstream Park. It’s a special place for me,” Castellano said. “It’s my home and I love it. That’s where I first started, in South Florida, to ride horses and hopefully I can get some good mounts and start getting some momentum.”
A Winner of 5,328 races and more than $354 million in purse earnings, Castellano had arthroscopic surgery to clean up some debris in his right leg, near the hip.
The procedure took place November 16th in New York. He went through, and completed physical therapy in NY, then returned to Florida earlier this month to start working with horses.
“I was able to get on some horses and then I had to stop to follow the protocol with the quarantine and everything,” he said. “But I feel good and ready, ready to go back to work.”
Castellano is named on two horses for the Thursday, February 18th card.
“I can’t wait,” Castellano said. “I am thankful for all the support from the trainers and owners.”
Welcome back JJ, safe trip.