02/12/2012 2:34PM

Gulfstream Park: Castellano opts to ride Algorithms over Union Rags in Fountain of Youth

Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Javier Castellano has opted to ride Algorithms in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – After agonizing over the decision for several days, jockey Javier Castellano and his agent, Matt Muzikar, have chosen to ride Algorithms, not Union Rags, in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 26. Union Rags will be ridden by Julien Leparoux in the Fountain of Youth.

Castellano has been the regular rider for both Algorithms and Union Rags throughout their brief and already successful careers. Castellano most recently guided Algorithms to an impressive victory in the Grade 3 Holy Bull. He was aboard Union Rags for victories last season in the Grade 1 Champagne and Grade 2 Saratoga Special as well as his second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Algorithms and Union Rags are two of five highly regarded Kentucky Derby prospects that Castellano has been riding regularly along with El Padrino, Discreet Dancer, and Gemologist. Four of the five are trained by Todd Pletcher.

Algorithms, Union Rags, and Discreet Dancer are all pointing to the Fountain of Youth, although Pletcher has already announced that John Velazquez would be aboard Discreet Dancer in the race.

“Javier rides five top Derby prospects, four of which are with one trainer,” Muzikar said. “This was a very tough decision, but Javier and I thought it was the right decision. Both of us have the utmost respect for both Michael Matz and Mrs. Wyeth. They are both very classy people, and we wish all the connections of Union Rags the best.”

Union Rags is owned by Phyllis Wyeth’s Chadds Ford Stable.

Matz wasted little time lining up Leparoux for the Fountain of Youth. He also said Leparoux would breeze Union Rags on Monday morning at Palm Meadows.

“Julien is a top rider, he’s ridden for us before, and he’s here in Florida,” Matz said.