02/05/2003 12:00AM

Castellano X-rayed after spill


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Javier Castellano, the leading rider at Aqueduct's winter meet, was taken to North Shore University Hospital for precautionary X-rays on his shoulder and neck following a nasty spill in Wednesday's eighth race.

Castellano was aboard River Salt when that 5-year-old mare broke down less than a quarter of a mile into the race. Castellano was unseated and hit the track hard. Though River Salt was part of the early pace, Castellano was fortunate not to be stepped on by a trailing horse.

Castellano, who was conscious, was removed from the track on a stretcher and taken away by ambulance.

River Salt, a 5-year-old daughter of Salt Lake, fractured both sesamoids in her right foreleg and was euthanized on track.