Jaxon Traveler cruises to $75,000 Star de Naskra victory
BALTIMORE, Md. – West Point Thoroughbreds and Marvin Delfiner’s Jaxon Traveler added a third stakes win to his resume, the second in his home state of Maryland, with a professional three-length triumph in Saturday’s $75,000 Star de Naskra at historic Pimlico Race Course.
The 28th running of the Star de Naskra for 3-year-olds sprinting six furlongs was the third of four stakes restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses worth $300,000 in purses on a 10-race Maryland Pride Day program.
It was joined on the on the card by the six-furlong, $75,000 Miss Disco for 3-year-old fillies and a pair of 1 1/16-mile turf stakes, the $75,000 Find for 3-year-olds and up and $75,000 All Brandy for fillies and mares 3 and older.
Ridden for the first time by Sheldon Russell for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, Jaxon Traveler ($3) was returning to the dirt after placing in stakes on grass and all-weather surfaces in his previous two starts. Though his previous three wins – including his debut last fall at Pimlico and his first stakes win in Laurel Park’s Maryland Juvenile Futurity – had come on the front end, he was content to rate behind Cry No More.
“I figured the horse on the inside was probably going to go to the lead and try and take it to us, so I’m glad he was able to relax. That’s all part of trying to educate them,” West Point founder and CEO Terry Finley said. “They can only go so far if they’re going this fast and as far as they can. They have to learn how to relax, so it worked out well. He’s getting bigger and stronger, so we’re in good shape with him.”
Russell had Jaxon Traveler at the right flank of Cry No More after a quarter mile in 22.56 seconds and closed the gap to a neck following four furlongs in 44.94. Jaxon Traveler straightened for home a length in front and sprinted clear, finishing up in 1:10.21 over a fast main track.
It was the second stakes win of the day for Russell, who also captured the Miss Disco with Malibu Beauty.
“He’s a forward-going horse. The plan was to bang him out there and see where we’re at,” Russell said. “Looking at the program, you could see [Cry No More] has a little bit of speed. Being on the outside he was always comfortable; he was always traveling. Great job to Steve and his team for having him ready today. I was just very fortunate that I was able to get to ride him.”
Alwaysinahurry, who beat Jaxon Traveler’s stablemate, Mighty Mischief, to win the July 4 Concern at Pimlico, trailed throughout but came with a late run to nose out Cry No More for second. Kenny Had a Notion and Exculpatory were scratched.
“That was awesome. When they scratch down like that you’re always a little concerned about trip, but he’s got the tactical speed,” West Point COO Tom Bellhouse said. “It looked like [Cry No More] was set on getting the lead and he just sat right off of it. I was thrilled. I loved the way he did it.”
Bellhouse said the connections would likely point to the $100,000 Maryland Million Sprint Oct. 23 at Laurel Park for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs. Jaxon Traveler was bred in Maryland by Dr. and Mrs. A Leonard Pineau.
“Whether he runs one more time before then or not, I have to believe that would be the target,” Bellhouse said. “It was a great placement by Steve and hopefully onward and upward. He’s such a cool horse. He shows up every single time.”
Star de Naskra Replay
The Star de Naskra is named in honor of the 1979 champion sprinter bred and owned by Carlyle Lancaster. He had a record of 15-10-4 and purse earnings of more than $580,000 from 36 starts between 1977-79, winning eight stakes and three graded-stakes, the latter during his championship season.
Good-Looking win for Malibu Beauty in $75,000 Miss Disco
ZWP and Non Stop Stable’s homebred Malibu Beauty registered her fourth win in the last six starts and first in a stakes, going gate to wire under Sheldon Russell to capture the $75,0000 Miss Disco by 4 ½ lengths.
Malibu Beauty ($2.80) and her Gary Capuano-trained stablemate Hitch a Ride are both front-running types, but it was the former that go to the lead first from Post 2 and held it through fractions of 23.26 and 46.56 seconds pressed by Response Time. The top two made the turn together while My My Girl swung outside to make a run and Hitch a Ride hugged the rail.
“It was just depending on who broke good. Malibu broke sharp and the other horse was outside. I just said I don’t want you going head-and-head setting it up for somebody coming off the pace,” Capuano said. “Then [Response Time] ended up going with Malibu and Hitch a Ride just tracked nice. They both ran great races today.”
With some encouragement from Russell, Malibu Beauty was able to open up on her rivals through the stretch as Hitch a Ride came through on the inside to edge My My Girl by a nose for second with Response Time fourth. Seven-time stakes winner Street Lute was scratched.
The winning time was 1:11.48 over a fast main track.
Malibu Beauty has been first or second in her last six starts, with each of her two losses coming by a half-length – one to Street Lute in the June 13 Stormy Blues at Pimlico, and the other against elders in an open allowance July 1 at Delaware Park.
“She’s a real nice filly, been getting better each time. She’s just cool,” Capuano said. “She got beat couple tough races, but other than that she’s been really good.”
Miss Disco Replay
The Miss Disco pays tribute to Alfred G. Vanderbilt’s Maryland-bred multiple stakes winner, dam of 1957 Preakness (G1) winner and Hall of Famer Bold Ruler and granddam of fellow Hall of Famer and 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat.
Somekindofmagician becomes stakes winner in $75,000 Find
Bell Gable Stable’s Somekindofmagician ran his win streak to three while earning the first career stakes win for himself and his owners with a last-to-first, 1 ¾-length victory in the $75,000 Find.
Rating well back of pacesetter Trifor Gold, who was in front through splits of 25.02 seconds, 50.72 and 1:15.40 before being reeled in by a group led by Nick Papagiorgio, Somekindofmagician trailed each of his six rivals midway around the turn. Jockey Angel Cruz moved the 7-year-old gelding off the fence approaching the stretch and set down for a stretch drive.
Nick Papagiorgio held on for second, a neck ahead of Alwaysmining, who rallied up the rail for third. Trifor Gold stayed up for fourth with 3-2 favorite Cannon’s Roar checking in fifth followed by Benny Havens and Closer Look. The winning time was 1:48.13 over a turf course rated yielding.
Somekindofmagician entered the Find off successive $20,000 optional claiming wins at Delaware Park July 21 and Aug. 7, the latter at 1 1/16 miles. They were his first wins since a similar spot last summer at Parx for previous trainer Jamie Ness; he joined trainer Gary Ness this spring.
“He’s showing us signs that he’s doing very well. Honestly, his last two wins for like $20,000 claiming, but he’s gotten so much better. I think he needed that,” Contessa said. “He went a long dry spell without winning a race, and each win I’ve watched him just improve drastically.”
Somekindofmagician had previously placed twice in stakes, running second in the 2017 and 2019 Maryland Million Turf at Laurel Park. He was also sixth in the race in 2018.
“We thought, ‘Hey, let’s take a shot at this stake.’ It’s a Maryland-bred, Maryland-sired race, which he fits,” Contessa said. “We just thought he was coming in on top of his game and we’d find out if the top of his game was good enough. Sure enough, he delivered.”
The Find Replay
The Find is named for the Sagamore Farm homebred that raced through age 11, starting 110 times with 22 wins, 27 seconds and 27 thirds and purse earnings of $803,615. He won or placed in 51 stakes, retired in 1961 as Maryland’s all-time leading money winner and the second-richest gelding in history.
Kiss the Girl finds grass stakes success in $75,000 All Brandy
Three Diamonds Farm’s Kiss the Girl came with a steady drive down the center of the track to catch Awesome Jazz approaching the wire and edge clear to a neck length victory in the $75,000 All Brandy.
It was the second victory of the day for both jockey Victor Carrasco, who took Race 5 on Elusive Jester ($15.20), and trainer Mike Trombetta, winner of Saturday’s opener with Mosler’s Image ($18.60).
Already a stakes winner on the dirt, Kiss the Girl ($12.20) completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:48.53 over a yielding turf course. Awesome Jazz was a length ahead of 50-1 long shot Holly’s Lady in second, with another 1 ½ lengths back to Good Life Cider in fourth.
Kiss the Girl began her career with Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen before Three Diamond’s Kirk Wycoff sent her to Trombetta last fall. She raced six times on the dirt, winning the March 13 Conniver at Laurel Park, but her last two races had come on the grass. She was fourth in the July 7 Peach Blossom at Delaware Park and second by 1 ¼ lengths in a one-mile optional claimer July 23 at Pimlico.
“The owner tried her on the grass before we received her to train and he just wasn’t satisfied that she really had her best opportunity, so he wanted us to revisit it,” Trombetta said. “It took a couple of starts for her to fall into place, but he was certainly convinced that she could do it and it appears he was right.”
Debut winner Forever Dreaming, making just her second career start, led the field of 10 through splits of 23.78 and 48.53 seconds before Awesome Jazz made a sweeping move on the far outside to take over the lead after six furlongs in 1:14.49. Carrasco had Kiss the Girl settled in fourth along the rail, tipped outside for the stretch and got her home.
“She missed a little bit of time and we got her going again,” Trombetta said. “She would run OK, but she’s finally race fit and today was the day that she kind of broke through and maintained her best form again.”
Trombetta won the All Brandy the last time it was contested with My Sistersledge in 2019.
All Brandy Replay
All Brandy was the Maryland-bred champion 3-year-old filly of 1962. In three seasons of racing, she won the Barbara Fritchie, Mermaid, Monumental and Eastern Shore Stakes and placed in three others. All Brady produced 11 foals for owner-breeder John Manfuso Sr. before passing at the age of 28 in 1987.
Maryland Jockey Club Press Release
Photo: Jaxon Traveler, (MJC)