A four-time Eclipse Award winner and a member of racing’s Hall of Fame since 2017, Venezuelan native Javier Castellano has won the 2023 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award via a nationwide vote of his fellow riders.
Castellano, 45, will be honored in a Runhappy Winner’s Circle ceremony at Santa Anita this spring. Married to his wife, Abby, Castellano, who immigrated to the United States in June of 1997, has three children, Kayla, Sienna and Brady and is the son-in-law of Terry Meyocks, National Director of the Jockeys’ Guild.
Presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950 and one of the most coveted awards in racing, the Woolf Award, which recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character garner esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing, can only be won once.
“I am proud to have been honored and selected to win this incredible award,” said Castellano. “It is one that is obviously prestigious, but to be voted by my fellow riders truly makes this so special. I admire my fellow nominees as well as the other incredible riders that have won this award in years past.
“The significance of this award definitely does not go unnoticed. I have so many people to thank and I look forward to having my family with me to accept this award at Santa Anita.”
Named for the late Hall of Fame jockey who gained national acclaim by winning the inaugural Santa Anita H. on Feb. 23, 1935 aboard Azucar and later by piloting the immortal Seabiscuit to victory over Triple Crown Champion War Admiral in match race at Pimlico Race Course on Nov. 1, 1938, the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award has been won by most of the greatest names in the history of the sport.
Second all-time only to fellow Hall of Famer John Velazquez, Castellano now has career purse earnings of more than $377 million and through Dec. 31, 2022, had recorded 5,595 career wins.