01/08/2014 12:23PM

2013 Eclipse Awards: Javier Castellano

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photo by: Barbara D. Livingston

Javier Castellano emerged as the dominant force among jockeys in 2013. He set an industry standard for mount earnings in North America and led all riders in wins by a clear margin, with 362. Along the way were 24 graded stakes victories, and for his unforgettable year Castellano is an Eclipse Award finalist for outstanding jockey for the third time.

Castellano, 36, made a convincing case for the Eclipse on Dec. 13, when he pushed past Ramon Dominguez’s single-season earnings record of $25,634,852. The milestone was reached after Castellano won the day’s third race at Gulfstream Park. He closed out 2013 with mount earnings of $26,213,507.

“I’m very proud and thankful to break the record and be on the same level with such a classy guy as Ramon Dominguez,” Castellano said. “You work all year long for a moment like this.”

Castellano ran the table on the East Coast’s major meets in 2013, accounting for the winter title at Gulfstream, the spring and fall stands at Belmont Park, and the Saratoga meeting. The journey included special horses like Princess of Sylmar, who gave Castellano three of his four Grade 1 wins in 2013: the Coaching Club American Oaks, Alabama, and Beldame.

Castellano’s reach extended to Fair Grounds in New Orleans, where he won the Louisiana Derby with Revolutionary and the Fair Grounds Oaks on Unlimited Budget. He also made his presence felt at Santa Anita, when his mount Ria Antonia was placed first in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. “I’m so thankful to all the trainers who put so much confidence in me, especially Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher,” Castellano, a native of Venezuela, told Daily Racing Form in November. “I hope things continue and that God gives me the strength to be strong.”