UNBEATEN JAXON TRAVELER HEADS MD. FUTURITY

Jaxon Traveler
Jaxon Traveler won an allowance at Laurel Park. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.

West Point Thoroughbreds and Marvin Delfiner’s undefeated 2-year-old colt Jaxon Traveler, an eye-catching winner of his first two starts, takes the next step in his progression when he makes his stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity at Laurel Park.

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The Futurity shares top billing on a nine-race program with the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, both for Maryland-bred/sired horses sprinting seven furlongs. Post time is 12:25 p.m.

Bred in Maryland by Dr. and Mrs. A. Leonard Pineau, Jaxon Traveler has dazzled in his two races to date, both in front-running fashion. He romped by 10 lengths in debut Sept. 25 at Pimlico Race Course over Lugamo, who came back to win his next two races and run third in the James F. Lewis III Stakes Nov. 14 at Laurel.

Jaxon Traveler was then pointed to the Maryland Million Nursery Oct. 24 but, not being Maryland-sired, he was excluded from the field. Instead, he ran in an entry-level optional claiming allowance for 2-year-olds the day before and was never threatened in a four-length triumph under a hand ride from Johan Rosado in 1:09.34 for six furlongs.

“He’s showed that he can run a little bit, and we are impressed. He acts like a nice horse,” Delfiner said. “He’s just doing everything right so far, so we just have to keep our fingers crossed that everything stays in good position.”

West Point purchased Jaxon Traveler for $140,000 out of the Ocala Breeders’ spring sale that was delayed from April to June amid the coronavirus pandemic, bringing Delfiner on as a partner. The dark bay or brown son of multiple graded-stakes winning sprinter Munnings originally fetched $80,000 as a yearling last fall at Keeneland.

“I liked the way he worked. I liked his conformation, I liked the way he moved at the 2-year-old sale, so I decided to invest in him. But, as you know, you never know how they’re going to turn out,” Delfiner said. “He’s very, very smart and he did everything right coming out of the gate training. Since he broke out of the gate in the first race, he’s acted like he’s an older horse. He’s a smart little colt.”

Delfiner’s background in racing includes being co-breeder of 2013 Skip Away (G3) winner Cigar Street and co-owner of Theregoesjojo, second in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and third in the Florida Derby (G1) in 2009, and Afleet Tizzy, a Pennsylvania-bred stakes winner of more than $376,000 in purse earnings.

“We’ve had some nice horses, no complaints,” Delfiner said. “He’s going to take us as far as he wants to go. So far, he’s done everything we’ve asked and we’ll just go to the next step.

“I’ve been around long enough to know that you can’t count any chickens,” he added. “He just happens to be a really, really nice horse and we’re excited about him.”

Several of Jaxon Traveler’s rivals bring previous stakes experience into the Futurity including shippers Singlino and Latin Spice, respectively first and third in the First State Dash Sept. 26 at Delaware Park. Owned and trained by John Worsley, Singlino has run into trouble in each of two subsequent starts including a seventh in the James Lewis, while Latin Spice was third in an open second-level allowance Nov. 23 at Mountaineer. He is trained by co-owner Jason DaCosta.

Mopo Racing’s Alwaysinahurry owns two wins and a second in three starts since being gelded this fall, the only loss coming to Dale Capuano-trained stablemate Kenny Had a Notion in the Maryland Million Nursery. Alwaysinahurry returned to post a gutsy neck triumph in an entry-level optional claiming allowance Nov. 7 at Laurel at the Futurity distance.

“Since we gelded him he’s run very well,” Capuano said. “The seven-eighths he won at last time shouldn’t be a problem this time. [Jason Traveler] is pretty tough. We’ll see what he can do.”

The Futurity will be the eighth career start for Alwaysinahurry, making him the most experienced horse in the field. He has also proven to be adaptable in his races, winning from both on and off the pace.

“However the race comes up, he can go either way. I don’t think that really matters to him. He’s pretty versatile, so that makes a difference,” Capuano said. “He’s already run seven times, so that’s quite a bit. He’s a got a lot more seasoning than some of the other ones. I think the more they run the better they should get, and it looks like he’s doing that. Hopefully he’ll improve a little bit more.”

Ain’t Da Beer Cold, Doubleoseven and maiden Hunter Joe complete the field.

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