ester Calls Nojoy Seeks Stakes Win in $100,000 Juvenile Fillies
LAUREL, MD – Coleswood Farm, Inc.’s 2-year-old gelding Coastal Mission, a full brother to retired multiple stakes winner Lewisfield, will get a chance to uphold the family tradition when he lines up against seven rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Maryland Juvenile at Laurel Park.
The 40th running of the Maryland Juvenile and 35th edition of the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Fillies, both for Maryland-bred/sired horses sprinting seven furlongs, serve as co-headliners on a nine-race program that begins with a 12:25 p.m. first post.
Based as a racehorse in West Virginia and now living the retired life in Virginia, Lewisfield enjoyed his finest days on the track in Maryland. Eight of his nine career wins, including all four of his stakes victories as well as his career finale last November, came at Laurel Park.
Trainer Jeff Runco, who earned his 4,000th career win December 9, 2017 at Laurel and has since surpassed the 4,500 mark, said it is too early to compare the siblings. By Great Notion out of the Crowd Pleaser mare Smart Crowd, Coastal Mission has raced twice this year, graduating first time out in a 4 ½-furlong maiden special weight Sept. 25 at Charles Town, cruising by 6 ½ lengths while in hand.
Stretched out and stepped up for his next start, Coastal Mission sat just off a three-way duel up front between Local Motive, Mr. Mox and eventual winner Buff Hello before coming with a four-wide run to get up for second in the six-furlong Maryland Million Nursery Oct. 23, his Laurel debut.
“He looks like he has some talent. He’s a little bit different personality [from Lewisfield],” Runco said. “He’s actually a very good-looking colt. He just looks like a racehorse. He’s a nice, big 2-year-old and he does everything right. He’s a really good horse to train. I’m excited to have him and get him ready to go here.”
Arnaldo Bocachica returns to ride Coastal Mission from Post 5 in the Juvenile, where he will once again face Local Motive and Mr. Mox.
“He broke his maiden first time out in a really good way, and then ran very big in the Maryland Million,” Runco said. “He had a little bit of trouble. He got stopped and had to steady and wait. He might have gotten there that day if he had a little bit better trip. He’s pretty good. I’ve liked him as much as any 2-year-old I’ve had this year.”
Bird Mobberley’s Local Motive was beaten a neck for second in the Nursery, then came back three weeks later to win the six-furlong James F. Lewis III by a head over Beast Or Famine Nov. 13 at Laurel. The Juvenile marks another 21-day turnaround for the gelded son of 2015 Preakness (G1) show finisher Divining Rod.
“He ran a huge race,” trainer John Salzman Jr. said. “We did try a little something different. Ever since he got hit in the eye at Timonium, we were scared to take a little hold of him because we know he doesn’t like the dirt in his face. This time we took a little hold of him and just laid outside of horses and he made a run and luckily had something left.
“[Beast Or Famine] came by on the outside. He was actually three or four paths off the rail away from us and I was scared he wasn’t going to pick him up, but as soon as he saw him he dug back in and got it done,” he added. “He’s a very nice horse, and he does give you his best effort.”
Winner of the five-furlong Hickory Tree Aug. 2 at Colonial Downs in his second start and only race on the grass, Local Motive drew outside Post 8 under J.D. Acosta.
Trainer John ‘Jerry’ Robb is a four-time Juvenile winner with Run Alden (1993), Apple Special (2007), Glib (2011) and Joint Custody (2013). He entered No Guts No Glory Farm’s Alottahope, a half-brother to eight-time stakes winning 3-year-old filly Street Lute. Alottahope was a 2 ¼-length winner of his lone start, a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight Nov. 13 at Laurel originally carded for the grass.
Rounding out the field are Jamie Ness-trained stablemates Mr. Mox and Crabs N Beer; Vance Scholars, who came up empty in the Nursery but bounced back with an optional claiming allowance win Nov. 21 at Laurel; We B Shackin, a winner of two of three races at Charles Town; and maiden Kobe Tough, second under his previous name, He Gone, behind Alottahope.
Jester Calls Nojoy Seeks Stakes Win in $100,000 Juvenile Fillies
The Elkstone Group homebred Jester Calls Nojoy, trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, will get some class relief as she faces state-breds for the first time in Saturday’s $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Fillies at Laurel Park.
A bay daughter of Maclean’s Music, Jester Calls Nojoy hasn’t raced since finishing fifth in the six-furlong Myrtlewood Oct. 29 at Keeneland. In her prior start, Jester Calls Nojoy bobbled at the start and wound up sixth in the one-mile Frizette (G1) at Belmont Park.
Jester Calls Nojoy was second by two lengths in her Aug. 15 debut at Saratoga after setting the pace, returning with an eye-catching 10-length romp in front-running fashion Sept. 5 at the Spa.
“We were anticipating actually that she’d be very tough in her debut, and she ran well, but she improved in her second start,” Pletcher said. “Then she didn’t quite get the trips we were hoping for in her next two races. I think she’s a filly that wants to be forwardly placed. She’s come back and trained well and hopefully she can step up for a stakes victory.”
Pletcher has won the Juvenile Fillies twice before, with Maragold Princess in 1997 and Somethinaboutbetty in 2005. Jevian Toledo gets the riding assignment from the rail in a field of 11.
“It makes sense, timing-wise, and we can take advantage of being a Maryland-bred. She’s doing well at the moment, and everything indicates it’s the correct move for her at this time,” Pletcher said. “I think seven furlongs is ideal.”
The Juvenile Fillies attracted another dazzling maiden winner, Tee N Jay Stable’s Dazzy, who cruised by 12 lengths in a restricted 6 ½-furlong maiden special weight Oct. 29 at Belmont Park in her lone start. The Divining Rod filly was bred in Maryland by the late Bob Manfuso.
“She broke out of the inside post, so she was kind of boxed in a little bit. There was plenty of room, but she was kind of down in there and the rider just let her creep up into contention,” trainer Tim Hills said. “At the quarter pole I said, ‘Ok.’ You always worry about a first-time starter being inside, and she pushed out and took the lead and all of a sudden she was way in front.
“It was one of those auction races [for] horses that sold or RNA’d for $45,000 or less, so you’re not going to get the real high-price horses, but, still, it’s maiden special weight in New York. I would call it a ‘wow’ race,” he added. “This looks like a good spot. Distance shouldn’t be an issue at all. She’s kind of a tall, long-striding filly but she’s got some speed, too, so that should be well within her wheelhouse.”
Victor Carrasco will ride Dazzy from Post 8.
Buff My Boots and Sparkle Sprinkle are entered to meet for the fourth straight race. Buff My Boots has finished ahead of her fellow speed-loving rival twice, including a gate-to-wire victory in the Oct. 23 Maryland Million Lassie at Laurel. Most recently, Sparkle Sprinkle was fourth and Buff My Boots fifth in the Nov. 13 Smart Halo.
“It all goes back to the speed in the race. There’s two horses in Maryland now that are really fast, and they just keep killing each other,” Buff My Boots’ trainer John Salzman Jr. said. “Sparkle Sprinkle breaks fast, and I’m trying to figure out what [they’re] doing. Last time they send and we tried to lay off of her and my filly didn’t want anything to do with it. Next time it’s going to be the same thing and we’re going seven-eighths and I’m going to go. I have to go. My filly wants to be on the lead.”
Regular rider J.D. Acosta has the call on Buff My Boots from Post 2, while Sparkle Sprinkle will break from Post 9 under Xavier Perez. Salzman won the 2017 Juvenile Fillies with Limited View, while Sparkle Sprinkle’s trainer John ‘Jerry’ Robb won in 1996 with Assault John.
Also entered are Luna Belle and Click to Confirm, respectively second and third in the Smart Halo; Lassie runner-up My Thoughts; last-out maiden winners Kilimanjara and Sommer Velvet; and Preparefortakeoff and Sweet Gracie.
Maryland Jockey Club Press Release
Photo: Jester Calls Nojoy (NYRA Photo)