02/24/2012 5:22PM

Gulfstream Park: Castellano wins 3,000th race as jockey

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Bob Coglianese
Javier Castellano celebrates his 3,000th career victory aboard Virtuously on Friday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Jockey Javier Castellano reached another career milestone when registering his 3,000th victory aboard Virtuously in Friday’s sixth race at Gulfstream Park.

Castellano, a 34-year-old native of Venezuela, is currently the leading rider at the meet with 71 victories. He rode four winners on Thursday’s card.

“It feels great,” Castellano said. “I’ve been very blessed to have all the support from all the owners and all the trainers and my agent, Matt Muzikar. People think it’s only me. I have a lot of help.”

Castellano said he was glad to reach the milestone at Gulfstream.

“Florida is my home,” Castellano said. “I ride in New York, but this is where I rode first when I came to this country. I love Florida, I love the people, they’ve supported me my whole career.”

Castellano rode his first career winner, Phone Man, at Calder in 1996.

Castellano was the regular rider of the three top 3-year-olds in this week’s Derby Watch, but was forced to choose between Union Rags and Algorithms in Sunday’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. He ultimately opted for Algorithms. He also will be at Fair Grounds on Saturday to ride favored El Padrino for trainer Todd Pletcher in the Risen Star.