Castellano to ride Algorithms, not Union Rags

Castellano to ride Algorithms, not Union Rags
Photo: Aaron Haggart/Eclipse Sportswire
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}   

Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to HRN, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing webcast HorseCenter, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars and is a Vox Populi committee member. He is a voter for racing's Hall of Fame, as well as a weekly NTRA poll voter. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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