12/05/2015 6:15PM

Castellano caps four-win day aboard Royal Posse in Claiming Crown Jewel

Coglianese Photos
Javier Castellano collects his fourth Claiming Crown series win of the day on favored Royal Posse in the $200,000 Jewel.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -  Jockey Javier Castellano picked right up where he left off last winter at Gulfstream Park, posting his fourth Claiming Crown victory on a wet and soggy afternoon by guiding favored Royal Posse to a 2 1/2-length score over stablemate Mr. Palmer in the $200,000 Jewel.

Castellano, the three-time reigning Gulfstream riding champion, eased Royal Posse ($5.60) from post 11  back off the early speed to race well-placed off a very lively pace in the 1 1/8-mile  Jewel.  Royal Posse commenced his rally while racing near the inside leaving the backstretch, overtook the tiring Rizwan before six furlongs, turned back a mild run from Mr. Palmer nearing the stretch, drew well clear, and was not menaced thereafter. The winning time over a sloppy track was 1:50.77.

Mr. Palmer, a 21-1 outsider, advanced quickly after a half-mile while racing near the rail, steadied briefly inside the winner challenging for command on the far turn, continued forwardly place thereafter but proved no match for his uncoupled mate while easily second best by three lengths. African Fighter outfinished Indycott to be third in a full field of 14 horses.

Royal Posse, a New York-bred son of Posse, was claimed by trainer Rudy Rodriguez in the interests of Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables, and Gary Aisquith for a bargain $20,000 last May at Belmont Park. He won the Evan Shipman Stakes this summer at Saratoga and finished second in the Empire Classic in his most recent outing.

“I wasn’t worried when the track came up wet. He had won a couple of races in the slop, and he was coming into the race very good,” said Rodriguez. “This is the first time he came out of New York and he showed today he was a good horse.”

Rodriguez said he was elated at running one-two in the Jewel with Royal Posse and Mr Palmer.

“To run first or second over this track was amazing.  I’m very, very proud,” said Rodriguez.

On winning four Claiming Crown races, Castellano said “I’m very lucky. I feel at home here. Gulfstream has been very good to me.”