Jaxon Traveler Wins Star De Naskra At Pimlico - Horse Racing News

Jaxon Traveler wins the Star de Naskra at Pimlico.

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 in Baltimore, Md.

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 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 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.”

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.


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