Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: December 8
Jaxon Traveler and Johan Rosado after the Maryland Juvenile Futurity. Photo: Jerry Dzierwinski
Plenty of racing action took place throughout the Mid-Atlantic this past week.
Here’s a look at the “three stars” of each track:
- FIRST STAR: JAXON TRAVELER. This promising Maryland-bred 2-year-old improved his career record to 3-for-3 on Saturday. He won the Maryland Juvenile Futurity by 3/4 of a length, holding off the challenge of Singlino in the stretch. It was the first time he had raced beyond six furlongs, covering seven furlongs in 1:25.08. He’s owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and Melvin Delfiner, trained by Steve Asmussen, and ridden by Johan Rosado.
- SECOND STARS: STREET LUTE. One race earlier, the top Maryland-bred 2-year-old fillies took center stage, in the Maryland Juvenile Fillies Championship. Street Lute won her third stakes of the year, winning by 1 3/4 lengths going away. She sat a good trip stalking the pace early on, then took charge turning for home and drew off. She added this race to an already impressive resume, which includes wins in the Small Wonder Stakes and the Smart Halo Stakes. Xavier Perez was in the saddle, for Lucky 7 Stable and John Robb. She traveled the seven furlongs in 1:24.83.
- THIRD STAR: SHELDON RUSSELL. The leading jockey at the fall meet had a big day on Sunday, winning three races on the 8-race card. He coasted on the front end in race 2 with Triple Tito’s, going gate-to-wire on this firster for trainer Anthony Farrior. His second win of the day came via disqualification, as runner-up Automate was put up from second in race 4. He got another gate-to-wire win in race 5, teaming up with his wife, Brittany, on the promising debuter Lambeau Lady. Russell has become a dominant presence this meet. His 36 wins lead the jockey standings by eleven wins, while hitting at a 27% clip.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- FIRST STAR: SHAMROCK KID. Shamrock Kid found his way into the winner’s circle for the fourth time this year on Friday night, as he won a starter optional claiming race by 5 1/2 lengths. He rated in fourth place early on, while his rivals duked it out on the front end. At the half-mile point, Shamrock Kid moved up to challenge the leaders, and easily rolled past them en route to a win at 3/5. Owners Wasabi Ventures Stable and trainer Jesus Cruz have been on fire lately; that’s their fourth win in their last seven starts at Charles Town. Denis Araujo was in the saddle.
- SECOND STAR: DENIS ARAUJO. Araujo had a big week, with five wins. His best night came on Friday, when he won three races. In addition to his win on Shamrock Kid, he won the first race on Tuition Plan, for trainer Anthony Lucas, and the eighth race on John Carlisle-trained Slew the Turn. He won two more races on Thursday. Araujo’s 57 wins on the year are good for fifth place in the jockey standings.
- THIRD STAR: CHIEFS KINGDOM. Going into Friday, this West Virginia-bred filly had been winless since taking the Valentine’s Day Stakes. She found her way back into the winner’s circle, taking a West Virginia-bred allowance by a length. She dueled with Prime Lime early on in the 4 1/2 furlong affair, then pulled clear and held on. She’s owned by David Bloom, trained by Javier Contreras, and ridden by Sunday Diaz.
- FIRST STAR: PRESS YOUR BETS. Wednesday’s feature, a n/w2x allowance sprint, saw a gigantic upset. Press Your Bets, the longest shot in the six-horse field at 16/1, stole away on the front end to win by two lengths. It’s just his second win of the campaign, and his first since a mid-September score at Delaware Park. 4/5 favorite Mount Travers closed well, but was unable to catch the leader and finished second. The winner is owned by Richard Malouf, trained by Scott Lake, and ridden by Edwin Rivera.
- SECOND STAR: SCOTT LAKE. Lake had a big day on Wednesday. In addition to Press Your Bets, he saddled two other winners. He won with Lookingforanewspot and Roberto Rosado in race 3, and triumphed with Grand Oasis in race 10, with Ruben Silvera aboard. Lake is tied for fourth in the trainer standings, with 29 wins on the year.
- THIRD STAR: RUBEN SILVERA. Silvera had another big week, winning seven races. The highlight of the week came on Monday, when he won three races. He won race 1 on Sambam, for trainer Jorge Diaz, race 4 on Lean on E, for trainer Louis Linder, and the 7th race aboard Otis Otis Otis, for Scott Lake. Silvera’s 103 wins are second in the jockey standings.
LATEST RACING NEWS
Likely horse of the year Knicks Go is favored in what will be the final race of his career, Saturday’s G1 Pegasus World Cup.
Your five-minute read to catch up on all the Mid-Atlantic racing action you may have missed over the weekend…
Maryland-bred Knicks Go, the likely horse of the year, on Sunday had his final tuneup prior to Saturday’s G1 Pegasus World Cup.
Three-year-old Joe, winner of the Maryland Juvenile Championship, stretched out to two turns nicely to win an allowance at Laurel Park.
Hibiscus Punch, winner of the 2021 G3 Fritchie, had her final breeze Saturday morning in preparation for the Jan. 29 What a Summer at Laurel Park.
Air Token, winner of the 2021 Maryland Million Sprint, won an allowance contest Friday at Laurel Park for his first win since.