Castellano to ride Algorithms, not Union Rags

February 12, 2012 11:19am
They say having to make a decision like this is a good problem to have, and I guess that’s true, but I’m sure that didn’t make things any easier for jockey Javier Castellano of late. The decision has finally been made. As reported by DRF’s Mike Welsch, Castellano has made the difficult decision to climb aboard the undefeated Algorithms, rather than the returning top juvenile Union Rags, in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth two weeks from today. The decision, made with his agent Matt Muzikar, does not mean Castellano cannot still ride Union Rags in the Kentucky Derby, but in all likelihood, this choice means he has made a commitment to another horse that will carry all the way to Louisville.
Not long after the choice was announced, I caught this tweet by Julien Leparoux, “I'm so excited about the news, can't wait to ride Union Rags :)” As the recipient of the good fortune of the mount on Union Rags becoming available, the Eclipse Award winning French rider was clearly giddy with the news. As one of the leading riders at Churchill Downs the last several years, and known for his patience, Leparoux could be the perfect jockey to team with the talented Michael Matz charge. 
While both horses are rated very highly on my new Down and Derby – Sweet 16 (due to be released on Tuesday), it is Union Rags that will hold down the #1 spot, and not Algorithms. Also of note is the current odds for the Kentucky Derby Future Bet Pool 1, which lists Union Rags a solid 7-1 favorite (among the single horses), with Algorithms back at 12-1 as the second choice, and is set to close in a few hours. It seems like many of us would have gone the other way with this decision.
But don’t cry for Castellano, he is after all getting the hot horse in Algorithms, and the one that he chose to ride. Also making the blow a little more palatable for Castellano is the knowledge that he still has a few other Todd Pletcher trained guns like El Padrino and Gemologist in his Kentucky Derby holster. 
Don’t tell Javier I said this, but … I could easily see any of these three, with Javier Castellano in the irons, running second in the Derby to Union Rags and Julien Leparoux.
{Check out the top Kentucky Derby 2012 contenders as voted by the fans}   



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Older Comments about Castellano to ride Algorithms, not Union Rags...

How can you make that prediction without knowing a single other runner?
He could still take the Preakness, if he can run on lead.
If the "A" colt does not improve, SAIGNIFICANTLY, in his ability to overcome a decent pace, his future in the Triple Crown this year will be severly limited
I'll wait and see how Algorithms does against UR in the Derby if it so happens before I jump to conclusions.
As of this afternoon it looks like Castellano opted to win a bunch of races no one will remember instead of having a shot at the one race everyone remembers. Union Rags may not ultimately win the Derby but he is all racehorse.
Union Rags is the real deal.
I hope Javier Castellano really likes El Padrino!
I remember an interview with one of the top trainers who had just won his first kentucky Derby, I can't remember who it was but he had won all of the best US races. Anyway he said when he meets people at the airport or at a party and they learn he is a race horse trainer the first question they always ask is "Have you ever won the Kentucky Derby?", he was very excited to be able to tell them now--Yes I have won the Kentucky Derby! I think this shows how important the Derby is to people in racing, owners, trainers and jockeys, not to mention fans. I know picking up Pletcher mounts helps business, but I can't believe a jockey would give up his best chance to win his first Derby if he didn't believe he was getting on a horse with at least an equal chance of winning.
Castellano had one of the hardest decision a jockey can ever wish for and at the same time its a great position to be in if you pick the right horse, I personally like Gemologist over both union rags and algorithms in the derby... He have a couple good races over the churchill surface and even though its early i believe he can do it...
Hi has picked the horse he feels will win. Yea Pletcher has the most stroke, but when you have a potential great three year old- that is a career choice. He has rode each horse and made a decision- it not a matter of questioning- it is a matter of wagering wisely based on this information...
Wrong choice, if it was my decision I'd ride Union Rags.
I think that a mistake is fatal that change of riding, Union Rags is best foal will demonstrate in this race!
I think he picked Pletcher over Algorithms, no doubt.
Now...put Johnny V on the back of Union Rags and let the show begin.
i say union, but this is good everyone is jumping on algorithms after hansen ran him self dead in the slop. algorithms is good but that beat down was on mud. now people doubt union rags a little because he lost to hansen and algorithms beat hansen. i wont be swayed so easy by thrashing on slop. algorithms is a good horse, but i think union rags and creative cause are better at the moment. i remember when union rags had trouble before the jv and found a hole right at the end and won by 5 in a a simple tap, he covers lots of ground its hard to throw out a horse who doesn't depend on the pace to win. up front hes tough, in the middle hes tough and trailing hes tough. but that's me. and i know with this hype union may not be the chalk coming up. but then again the public is chicken and will still make him favorite out of fear he may be the real deal.
  • NickGunritz · But you just don't know if he is going to improve in his 3yo year, he may have as already hit his peak · 2902 days ago
It's too difficult to say right now whether or not this was the best decision for Castellano. A lot can change between now and May, and hindsight is 20/20. He may end up regretting the decision, or it may be one of the best decisions he's ever made. We'll find out soon.
I still believe Union Rags is the better horse and will maintain that belief until I see Algorithms around two turns
i say algorithms is 3rd best right now till we see this next race.
He made the right choice. Eventually he will choose el padrino over algorithms.
If he stay's with Algorithm he also keeps el padrino and gemologist, at least until they run on the same day and Todd isn't going to run any angainst the other until he has to. Personally I think el padrino and gemologist will be the better horses by May. Just sayin...

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