LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Javier Castellano almost lost his Kentucky Derby ride on Gemologist when he was involved in a spill on Friday at Churchill Downs.
Fortunately, his injuries appear superficial. Castellano is expected to be aboard the undefeated Gemologist in the 1 1-4 mile Derby.
The mishap occurred aboard Star Channel in the American Turf Stakes, the ninth race on the Friday card, when the 3-year-old unexpectedly swerved on the final turn. Castellano was tossed onto the grass softened by an earlier rain storm. He was removed from the track on a stretcher as a precaution but returned for the final two races on the card, including a third-place finish on Grace Hall in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks. He wore a bandage under a swollen left eye.
Star Channel was apparently uninjured.
Gemologist, trained by Todd Pletcher, is 5 for 5 heading into the Derby on Saturday.
NAME GAME: Derby favorite Bodemeister is working on his third name.
The colt got tagged Bradelberry after being purchased for $260,000 by Ahmed Zayat at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale. Zayat said the name was for Brad Weisbord, his racing manager at the time. When Weisbord left, Zayat felt a name change was in order.
Last August, the colt became Graham N Spike for Graham Mandl, a Zayat family friend, and Spike, Mandl's dog.
Zayat and his son, Justin, eventually had second thoughts about Graham N Spike being an appropriate name if the colt developed into a stakes winner that might go on to a career as a stallion.
A month later, the colt became Bodemeister, a nickname for trainer Bob Baffert's 7-year-old son, Bode, who is named for Olympic skier Bode Miller.
By any name, Baffert hopes to call his colt the winner in the Derby.
FROM CHICAGO TO LOUISVILLE: Done Talking will try to follow in the hoof prints of War Emblem by parlaying a win in the Illinois Derby into a Kentucky Derby victory.
Their styles could not be more different.
War Emblem was the last wire-to-wire Derby winner in 2002.
Done Talking will attempt to win the Derby from the back of the pack. He rallied from 12th in the Illinois Derby for his first stakes victory.
This will be the first Kentucky Derby for Maryland-based trainer Hamilton Smith and jockey Sheldon Russell.
"This is the first horse I've had that warranted coming to the Derby," Smith said. "This colt showed us last fall he was a serious horse but we almost didn't find out."
After rallying to miss by less than a length in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct in November, Done Talking was stricken with an intestinal inflammation that could have been fatal. The illness cost the colt a month of training over the winter. The Illinois Derby was only his second start this year.
Done Talking is 50-1 on the morning line.
"He's a longshot, and rightfully so," Smith said.
NO REGRETS: Trainer Larry Jones will be watching the Kentucky Derby from the sideline after deciding earlier in the week to withdraw Mark Valeski.
He has no regrets.
"There was an ease that came over us when we made the decision," Jones said Friday. "We have learned that we have to listen to that inner voice. Sometimes we try to make our plans work when that inner voice is saying that's not what you're supposed to be doing. Good luck to everybody else in there. We just decided this isn't the opportunity we should be taking."
Mark Valeski is being pointed to the Peter Pan Stakes next weekend at New York's Belmont Park.
The Derby decision relieved a lot of pressure around the Jones barn. He was relaxing with Buddy, a 4 1/2-year-old gray African parrot with red tail feathers, perched on his right shoulder. While Buddy has a large vocabulary, he is not much of a handicapper, Jones said.
Come post time Saturday, Jones will be watching the Derby.
"I enjoy horse racing," he said. "That's what got me involved in this and I enjoy watching good horses run."
NO SCRATCHES: All 20 Derby runners were still set to go Friday by the 9 a.m. deadline for scratches.
As a result, My Adonis, the also eligible horse, was excluded from the race. He shipped out for Pimlico in Maryland, where he will be the favorite in the Canonero II Stakes on Saturday.