Thursday, February 16, 2012

Castellano to Ride El Padrino in Risen Star

NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, February 15, 2012) – Red-hot reinsman Javier Castellano, who introduced himself to Fair Grounds fans on Louisiana Derby Preview Day two years ago by winning two of the four graded stakes contested that afternoon, will return to the local oval Feb. 25 to ride Let’s Go Stable’s El Padrino for trainer Todd Pletcher in the 2012 Grade II, $300,000 Risen Star Stakes.

The 34-year-old native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, who won the 2010 Risen Star on E. Paul Robsham Stable’s Discreetly Mine and the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap that same afternoon on Anstu Stable’s Blues Street, returned to the Crescent City five weeks later that season to win that year’s Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial with Blues Street and the Grade II New Orleans Handicap with Overbrook Farm’s Battle Plan on Louisiana Derby Day.

Castellano, who made national news earlier this week by choosing to keep the mount on Starlight Racing’s Grade III Holy Bull Stakes winner Algorithms over Phyllis Wyeth’s Grade I Champagne Stakes winner Union Rags, will also ride Team Valor International’s Table Three Ten in the Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes on the upcoming Louisiana Derby Preview Day program.

El Padrino, whose final odds closed out at 16-1 in first Kentucky Derby Future Wager last Sunday, was originally scheduled to run in last month’s Grade III Lecomte Stakes here but his connections opted for an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Jan. 29 for the Pulpit colt’s debut as a 3-year-old. The Kentucky-bred closed out his juvenile campaign with a third-place finish in Aqueduct’s Grade II Remsen Stakes Nov. 26.

In a more recent preparation for Fair Grounds’ upcoming Risen Star Stakes, El Padrino worked a half-mile in 48.20 at Palm Meadows Monday morning.

RISEN STAR STAKES UPDATES – In addition to Let’s Go Stable’s El Padrino’s Monday move at Palm Meadows in 48.20, several of his prospective Risen Star Stakes rivals were recorded on the Fair Grounds tab that same day.

Brereton Jones’ Mr. Bowling, hero of the Grade III Lecomte Stakes here last month, went five furlongs in 1:01.20 and was more aggressive than usual breaking off a few lengths behind stablemate and Silverbulletday Stakes winner Believe You Can. Lecomte runner-up Z Dager, owned by Zayat Stables, went that same distance in 1:01.60.

Jerry Namy’s Shared Property, who finished third by a half-length in the Lecomte, breezed five-eighths in 1:00.80 on Monday.

Brereton Jones’ Mark Valeski breezed a bullet three-quarters in 1:12.60 on that day, and Bluegrass Hall’s Optimizer worked a bullet five furlongs over a muddy track at Oaklawn Park on Wednesday in 1:00.40.

George and Tiffany Veloudis’s Tizanexpense worked five furlongs at Fair Grounds in 1:00.60 last Saturday in advance of the Risen Star.

Jim Tafel’s Afford, who won an allowance and $50,000 optional claiming race at Fair Grounds Feb. 9, has been added to the list of prospective Risen Star starters, as have Raut LLC’s coupling of Adena’s Chance and Hero of Order, most recently second and third, respectively, in an allowance sprint here Feb. 11.

Although Risen Star riding assignments are incomplete at this time, Javier Castellano is to ride El Padrino, Robby Albarado is listed for Mr. Bowling; Leandro Goncalves is set for Shared Property and Rosie Napravnik is to be up on Mark Valeski.

RACHEL ALEXANDRA UPDATES – Team Valor International’s Table Three Ten, an undefeated daughter of El Prado conditioned by last year’s Kentucky Derby winning trainer Graham Motion, has been added to the list of those expected to contest the Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes on Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Derby Preview Day Feb. 25 and is to be ridden by Javier Castellano.

However, Glencrest Farm’s Disposablepleasure, heroine of last year’s Grade II Demoiselle at Aqueduct, will not be coming to the Rachel Alexandra, a race which serves as the final designed local prep for the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks to be run March 31 on the penultimate day of the 2011-2012 New Orleans racing season.

Brereton Jones’ Believe You Can, heroine of the $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes here Jan. 21, worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 Monday morning at Fair Grounds in preparation for her upcoming engagement in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes.

Also on Monday, Tall Oaks Farm’s Avie’s Sense went six furlongs in 1:14.40 in preparation for the Rachel Alexandra.

On Sunday, Ramona Bass’s undefeated Applauding went a half-mile in 49.60 in advance of the Rachel Alexandra, while Naveed Chowhan’s Annaclone went the same distance in 51.20 to get ready for Fair Grounds’ filly fixture.

Gillian Campbell et al.’s Summer Applause breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.20 last Saturday in advance of the Rachel Alexandra, and Jake Ballis’s Inny Minnie went five furlongs in 1:00.40 last Friday.

Riding assignments for the Rachel Alexandra Stakes are incomplete, but in addition to Javier Castellano being named for Table Three Ten, Rosie Napravnik returns on Believe You Can, Shane Sellers is expected for Applauding, and Shaun Bridgmohan is named for Inny Minnie.

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