Castellano, Smith, Velazquez Nominated for ESPY as Best Jockey

Pop Culture
Leading jockeys Javier Castellano, Mike Smith, and John Velazquez are in the running for a 2017 ESPY Award. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Leading riders Javier Castellano, Mike Smith, and John Velazquez have been nominated for the 2017 ESPY Award as Best Jockey, the cable sports television and online network announced today. The 25th ESPY Awards will be presented on July 12 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Calif., and will be televised live on ABC.

Fans will have a chance to select the winners by voting online or via mobile at this link.  Fans can also follow the official ESPYS Twitter page and provide their selections leading up to the awards show. On the day of the show, fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #ESPYS to join in on the conversation.

Castellano currently ranks third in 2017 North American earnings (which also include Dubai earnings) with nearly $11.8 million through June 21, and is ranked eighth in wins with 112. Last year, he ranked first in earnings with over $26.8 million, and fourth in wins with 300. Last month, he rode Cloud Computing to a win in the Preakness Stakes. Castellano has received four consecutive Eclipse Awards as Outstanding Jockey, and will be inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame later this summer.

Smith currently ranks first in 2017 earnings with over $13.3 million. The bulk of those earnings come from Arrogate, whom Smith rode to wins in the lucrative Pegasus World Cup Invitational in January and the Dubai World Cup in March. “Big Money Mike” has accumulated 36 wins to date in 2017, and won five stakes races on the June 10 Belmont Stakes card in New York, including the Ogden Phipps Stakes with champion Songbird, another one of his regular mounts. Last year, Smith earned over $13.3 million. Smith has won two Eclipse Awards as Outstanding Jockey, in 1993 and 1994.

Velazquez, like Smith a member of the Racing Hall of Fame, has 2017 earnings of nearly $8.7 million through June 21. He won his second Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands in May aboard Always Dreaming, and has won 86 races so far this year. Last year, Velazquez earned nearly $18.6 million aboard his mounts, good for fourth among North American jockeys. He won the Eclipse Award as Outstanding Jockey in 2004 and 2005.

The ESPYS benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research in memory of the late college basketball coach and analyst Jim Valvano.  

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