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Castellano to Ride Romansh in Travers

Godolphin Stable's Romansh will have a new rider when he makes his next start in the Grade 1 Travers.


Trainer Tom Albertrani has enlisted three-time Travers winner Javier Castellano to ride the 3-year-old Bernardini colt, who was placed first following the disqualification of his entrymate, Transparent, in the Curlin Stakes on July 26.


Castellano and Albertrani teamed up to take the 2006 Travers with Bernardini. Castellano, who entered Sunday's card with a meet-leading 40 victories, also won the race in 2010 with Afleet Express and 2011 with Stay Thirsty.


Jockey Junior Alvarado had ridden Romansh in each of his past three starts, including the Curlin, but is committed to Will Take Charge for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas in the Travers.


"We were shopping around for another rider, and Javier happened to be available," Albertrani said Sunday morning. "We've won it together before, so maybe we'll do it a second time."


Eddie Arcaro, Braulio Baeza, Jimmy McLaughlin and Pat Day, with four each, are the only riders to have more Travers wins than Castellano. He is also one of only five riders to win in back-to-back years, joining Charles Miller (1869-70), George Barbee (1874-75), Eric Guerin (1953-53) and Eddie Maple (1980-81).


Having Castellano ride Romansh for the first time in a big race is not a concern for Albertrani.


"Guys like him ... they don't always have to have a race under them to get a feel for them," he said. "They're pretty adaptable to the horse, and I think he'll make a nice fit. The horse isn't complicated, really, so we've just got to put him in a place and go from there and stay out of trouble."


Albertrani also reported that Twilight Eclipse emerged from his runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer in good shape, and would likely be pointed to the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park on September 28.


"He's very fresh, walking around on his toes this morning. He looked good," he said. "He ran great. We were pretty optimistic about him running a good race in there. It was nice to see him come back just the way we were expecting."


*           *           *


Robbie Davis won 277 races and nearly $11 million in purses at Saratoga Race Course during a 22-year riding career, including such stakes as the Hopeful, Saratoga Special, Saranac and Honorable Miss.


One of his most emotional wins came on Saturday, more than a decade after he was forced to retire because of knee problems. Sandyinthesun, a 6-year-old Say Florida Sandy gelding he co-owns with Thomas Ponterella, got his nose down on the wire to take the eighth race at odds of 23-1.


Sandyinthesun returned $49.20 on a $2 win bet, and was the first training victory at Saratoga for the 52-year-old Davis, who has four horses in training on his farm in nearby Middle Grove, N.Y.


"It's just unimaginable. You'd think it was the dang Travers or something," said Davis, who hugged and high-fived people in and out of the winner's circle. "Sandy's like one of our kids. We bought him as a yearling. He's part of the family. We've gone and taught him along the way, and he's just really responded well, so it's gotten really exciting."


The win was the third in 22 lifetime starts for Sandyinthesun, the first two coming with Davis' daughter, Jackie, in the irons. One of six children, Jackie Davis was riding Saturday at Suffolk Downs, while her brother, Dylan, had mounts at Ellis Park and Indiana Downs.


Junior Alvarado was aboard for Saturday's victory.


"The only way it would have been better is if Jackie was here," Davis said. "Junior rode a great race on him."


As a trainer, Davis won with two of 19 starters from 2011-12, and was 0-for-27 this year. He last posed for a winner's circle photo at Saratoga on August 24, 2002, after riding 46-1 long shot Atfirst Blush.


Sandyinthesun was making his second start at the meet, having run eighth in the John's Call stakes on July 31. He has run six times at the Spa, including his career debut on Sept. 4, 2011, and is responsible for all three of Davis' training wins.


"We've got a little farm outside of town here on Stone Church Road," Davis said. "We've got a couple of babies there. We hope to have one each year and not get too crazy or anything. This is what we do. We love being around the horses."




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