LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The majority of the riding colonies from New York, Indiana and Ohio converged on Churchill Downs throughout the opening two weeks of the Spring Meet but several riders such as Javier Castellano, Jose Ortiz, Joel Rosario and John Velazquez plan on a return to the Empire State once Belmont Park opens on June 3.
“I really enjoy riding at Churchill Downs but New York is home for my family and me,” Castellano said. “I’m thankful Churchill was able to open early and let us ride here.”
Through the first four days of racing at Churchill Downs, New York-based jockeys had won 10 of 42 races with Hall of Fame rider Velazquez tied alongside Ricardo Santana Jr. atop the rider standings at four wins. Fellow New York-based rider Rosario has three victories while Ortiz has two.
“We love Kentucky racing and the people here but Jose is going to head home. It’s been a long time since he’s been there,” Ortiz’ agent Jimmy Riccio said.
Photo: Javier Castellano. Credit: Churchill Downs