The sport of horse racing is one of the only sports left in the United States, but that could soon change with this announcement. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano tested positive for the coronavirus. Castellano made the announcement on his Twitter page on Thursday night, and also shared that he hasn’t experienced any symptoms of the disease.
Coronavirus tests are usually reserved for those patients that are experiencing extreme symptoms, but there was a reason that Castellano was forced to get tested. He recently made a trip to New York to visit his family, and New York is one of the states that has been hit hard by the disease.
Gulfstream Park in Florida made Castellano get the test when he returned to stop the potential risk of him spreading it to other riders.
Castellano has not raced since March 14 and 15. He raced Oaklawn Racing and Gaming in Arkansas on March 14, and then at Gulfstream Park in Florida on March 15.
He then went to visit his family before returning to the South Florida area on a plane. Castellano shared that he had no known contact with anyone that has the disease and that he was still able to be active, even on the day that he tested positive.
Castellano will now have to be in self-quarantine for at least 14 days before he can be tested again. If the jockey can test negative for the disease at that time, then he could return to racing. He is one of the most successful and decorated jockeys in the sport of horse racing, and his absence will be felt on the track.
The jockey currently sits at 26th on the all-time wins leaderboard, having won 5,244 races. Castellano has already had a busy 2020 season, having rode a horse in 169 starts already this year. He has 24 wins under his belt this year and has already earned $1.9 million in purses.
His impressive resume earned him a spot in the Horse Racing Hall of Fame when he was enshrined in 2017. Castellano has also won the Eclipse Award four times during his career, which is handed out to the top jockey of the year.
He will not be able to add to these impressive totals during his two-week quarantine, but other jockeys across the country might be forced to dismount as well.
Gulfstream Park is one of the nine race tracks that are continuing to hold events despite warnings and orders from the government to shut down. Gulfstream Park, in particular, has faced harsh criticism from the Vice Mayor of Hallandale Beach, where the park is located.
Broward County officials have ordered that all nonessential businesses be shut down, but that hasn’t stopped the Stronach Group from operating the track. The Florida Derby is set to take place on Saturday at the track and is one of the biggest horse racing events scheduled to take place this month.
Turfway Park in Kentucky was also planning to host events this weekend, but they decided to shut down operations on Wednesday night. The Stronach Group is one of the few organizations that has yet to even consider taking a break from horse racing amidst the coronavirus.
All races are taking place without fans in the grandstand, but many people are questioning whether that is enough. The Stronach Group also has a pair of horse racing tracks in California, Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields, that will host races on Saturday.