08/24/2016 3:27PM

Castellano, agent parting ways after Saratoga

Jockey Javier Castellano

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano and his agent, Matt Muzikar, will split at the end of the Saratoga meet, both parties confirmed Wednesday.

Castellano cited a breakdown in communication as the reason for the two ending their seven-year working relationship.

“Any relationship needs good communication, and we didn’t have it – that’s part of the problem,” Castellano said. “It’s not easy, it’s hard. We’ve been very successful the last seven years, three Eclipse Awards, but at some point, you need to move forward.  I feel like the communication wasn’t right, and I look forward now to make a change.”

Castellano said he has not yet retained a new agent for the Belmont fall meet, which begins Sept. 9.

Part of the communication problem between Castellano and Muzikar developed over Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes. Castellano is riding Destin for Todd Pletcher, but he had also told trainer Chad Brown that he would ride Gift Box.

Pletcher and Brown have been Castellano’s two most significant clients in recent years.

“Any time a jockey is giving out two calls in a Grade 1 without telling his agent, there’s obviously a communication problem,” Muzikar said.

In the end, Castellano, a five-time winner of the Travers, wound up on Destin, the horse he rode to a sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and a second-place finish in the Belmont Stakes. Castellano guided Gift Box to a pair of wins and a second-place finish in the Curlin Stakes from five rides on that ridgling.

According to Muzikar, Castellano’s backing out of his call to Brown on Gift Box has cost Castellano 20 calls he had with Brown for races at this meet.

Castellano, 38, has won three consecutive Eclipse Awards (2013-15) and last year set a North American record for purse earnings with $28,120,767.

Through Tuesday, Castellano is this year’s leading earner among riders with $14,790,634. His 199 wins rank him fourth.

Castellano entered Wednesday as the third-leading rider at the Saratoga meet with 34 wins, five behind the leader, Irad Ortiz Jr.