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Castellano Having fun with the Journey; Blazing Sevens Breezes

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The spring belonged to Corridor of Fame jockey Javier Castellano.

He hopes to maintain the momentum going for the remainder of the summer time.

The 45-year-old Castellano knocked down some private boundaries in the course of the Triple Crown season when he gained his first Kentucky Derby (G1) with Mage  and his first Belmont Stakes (G1) with Archangel.

Castellano had gone 0 for 15 in the Run for the Roses before this year and 0 for 14 in past Belmonts.

Mage and Arcangelo could be on a collision course at the end of the meet at Saratoga Race Course in the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) Aug. 26.  Castellano is not going to worry about that right now.

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“It’s a good position to be in,” Castellano said while making the backstretch rounds on a recent Saratoga morning. “We’ll see what happens.”

Castellano is off to a solid start at this meet. Through three days of racing, he has three wins in 22 rides with two seconds and six thirds.

A year ago, Castellano had a rejuvenation, of sorts, as he came off of a 2021 meet that saw him win just 13 races. Whispers began that he was done, but Castellano knew better. He rebounded with a 25-win Saratoga summer last year and now is in peak riding form.

“I work hard and I am dedicated,” Castellano said. “I have proved I belong. I love what I do and I am here to win races and be competitive. A lot of people are giving me support and my agent (P.J. Campo) has been working hard getting me horses to ride. Everything is working out good.”

He won his first stakes race of the meet on opening day when he guided Becky’s Joker  to an upset (21-1) win in the Schuylerville Stakes (G3).

Castellano won’t take anything for granted. He had a rough patch in 2020 when going through a bout of COVID-19 and also having arthroscopic surgery on his right leg near his hip.

“When my business slowed down, I think people question you, like any other sport,” he said. “They say, ‘Let me see how you come back; let me see how good you are. Everything worked out last year, but this year is better.”

Blazing Sevens Breezes Toward July 21 Curlin

John Capek, who with his wife, Carla, make up Rodeo Creek Racing, are hoping to have a lot of fun this summer at Saratoga. The good times could start rolling July 21 when
Blazing Sevens , one of the 10 horses they have with trainer Chad Brown, runs in the $135,000 Curlin Stakes.

A win there, and there could be a trip to the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) Aug. 26.

“We are looking forward to seeing him back on the track,” Capek said Saturday.

Blazing Sevens, left with exercise rider Peter Levia breezes in preparation for a possible next start in The Curlin at the Saratoga Race Course Saturday July 15, 2023 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Photo   by Skip Dickstein

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Blazing Sevens (outside) breezes along stablemate Accretive July 15 on the Saratoga main track

Blazing Sevens finished a game second, beaten a head by National Treasure , in the May 19 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course in his last start May 20.

On Saturday Blazing Sevens, with exercise rider Peter Levia on board, worked four furlongs in :49.91 on the main track at Saratoga. He worked in company with Accretive , a stakes-placed 4-year-old from the Brown barn, who was clocked in the same time.

They were listed as the 108th fastest times of 166 at the distance on an extremely busy work day.

“The horse worked great,” Brown said at his barn near the Oklahoma Training Track. “He has had some time to recover from that hard race and he seems to be coming to this fresh and strong.”

Brown had thought about running in the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at the Spa July 22 but opted for the Curlin, which is for horses who have not won a graded sweepstakes at a mile or over in 2023. Both races are for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles.

Blazing Sevens has not won since he captured the one-mile Champagne Stakes (G1) last fall at age 2. Though winless in 2023, the colt has steadily improved with each race this year.

One of the reasons for Brown’s choice was a desire to secure one of his go-to riders. Irad Ortiz Jr. and Flavien Prat, who have both ridden Blazing Sevens in the past, would not be available if Brown went the Jim Dandy route.

Brown said that Prat will ride Blazing Sevens in Friday’s Curlin.

John Capek owned horses for 15 years back in the early 2000s but got out to concentrate on his position at Abbott Laboratories, where he has been an executive vice president, Ventures, for the last 17 years.

He and his wife formed Rodeo Creek—which is named for a street they have a home on in California—in 2021. Blazing Sevens, a son of Good Magic , is called after a jackpot guess in blackjack. John Capek mentioned his spouse has hit it greater than as soon as. They’re each hoping to hit the largest Saratoga jackpot of the season with Blazing Sevens.

“He completed very nicely within the Preakness and we’re wanting ahead to him as he continues to progress,” John Capek mentioned. “The Curlin units him for a great break with the Travers. We really feel fortunate to be within the state of affairs we’re in. He places his coronary heart into his coaching.”

Millionaire Mare Caravel to Face Males Once more in Troy

Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel and Madaket Stables’ a number of grade 1-winner Caravel  worked a half-mile in :48.88 July 15 over the Oklahoma training turf at Saratoga.

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1T) winner is pointed toward another start against male rivals at Saratoga for the $300,000 Troy Stakes (G3T), a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint Aug. 5, trainer Brad Cox told track publicity.

Caravel has won 15-of-23 starts and made just shy of $1 million last year. She is undefeated in three starts this year, most recently taking the June 10 Jaipur Stakes (G1T) against males.

“She’s really good. Physically, she looks amazing. She’s happy,” Cox said. “I don’t know if we need her to get any better, she just has to continue to be as good as she’s been the first half of the year. If we can duplicate that in the second half, we’ll be in great shape.”

Caravel and Tyler Gaffalione win the G1 Jaipur Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY on June 10, 2023. Mathea KelleyPhoto: Mathea Kelley

Caravel wins the Jaipur Stakes at Belmont Park

Cox also told New York Racing Association publicity he intends to run Godolphin’s Kentucky homebred Wet Paint  in the July 22 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), a 1 1/8 mile test for sophomore fillies. She worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 at Saratoga Saturday.

Elsewhere, Cox’s top older male dirt horse, Gary and Mary West’s Kentucky homebred West Will Power , breezed a half-mile in :51 2/5 Saturday morning at Churchill Downs. He is a possible starter in the Aug. 5 Whitney Stakes (G1) at the Spa.

Scheduled to run later in the month for Cox at Saratoga in the July 29 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) are Albaugh Family Stables’ Angel of Empire , and Gary and Mary West’s Hit Show who dead-heated for fourth in the Belmont Stakes (G1). They worked five-eighths in company in 1:00.90 July 14 over the Oklahoma training track.

The New York Racing Association contributed to the content related to Caravel’s race plans.

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