LARC NEWS Posted: 8/17/2018 9:07:16 AM


           Lesley Joyner’s homebred runner Jesstacartel has been nearly impossible to beat at the top of his game. The Utah-bred gelding by One Sweet Jess won the Corona Chick Handicap by 2 ¼ lengths last year and was a half-length winner in his Golden State Derby trial while facing a difficult and powerful group that included A Political Lady and Moonie Blues. To see the Utah bred’s development as a major stakes runner has to be pure joy for Lesley Joyner, who also bred Jesstacartel’s dam, Stolmeacartel. Her Utah homebred’s star-power has to have come as a bit of surprise for Joyner considering that Stolmeacartel made only $84 in two career starts, while racing only once each in 2012 and2013. Additionally, Jesstacartel’s granddam, the Corona Cartel mare Buena Cartel, never even made it to the track.  

     “I went to the Los Alamitos Equine Sale with Mark Skeen and Fawna Knight and I was looking for a horse by Corona Cartel,” said Joyner of Mapleton, Utah. “We came across this (2004) Corona Cartel filly named Buena Cartel bred by Paul Jones. She was small, but affordable. We bought her, but we were never able to race her. She was a little bit on the smaller side, but she was by Corona Cartel and out of Marmeta, whose family had stakes winners, so we decided to make her a broodmare.  We bred Buena Cartel (to Stoli) and got Stolmeacartel, who I like to call “Ella”. We sent Ella to St. George, Utah with trainer Mark Skeen, but she just did not want to race. We ran her a few times, but she just didn’t want to do it. We tried a lot of different things with her with not much luck, but she was just this big, beautiful mare so we decided to breed her. That’s how we got Jesstacartel.”

    “He’s always been really big and I remember Mark saying when he started training him that ‘he didn’t know where all his parts are yet.’ As a 2-year-old, we decided to run him later in the year and we would just see what would happen.

    Sired by One Sweet Jess, Jesstacartel had a bumpy beginning to his racing career.

    “In his first out, he got bumped around from both sides,” she continued “We started him again and this time he was on the outside. He went super right at the start, but halfway through the race he started picking up speed and he won the race.”

    Finally, Joyner got to enjoy a win from this family of horses. Best of all, it was only the start of a lot of fun nights at the track for Ella’s gentle giant.   

    “You know, Ella is a funny mare. She’s very protective of her babies. She’s always had a lot of attitude. Jesstacartel doesn’t have any of that attitude. He’s a very sweet horse. With Buena Cartel and Ella not wanting to run, we didn’t pay him into any big races as a 2-year-old. He ran some good races during the second half of his 2-year-old year so we put him in the Winter Derby. Unfortunately, he was sick right before the trials.”

    Not wanting to take a chance, trainer Mark Skeen scratched Jesstacartel from the trials.

    “He ended up being off for about eight months altogether,” Joyner added. “We were nervous not knowing how he would do once he came back to racing.”

    In his first start back, Jesstacartel went against A Political Lady, the hottest filly on the grounds after winning her previous five starts.

    “Out of the gate, he ran wide and went to the outside again, but he only lost by a neck,” she said. “We were happy. That night was also around the time to make the late payments for the Los Alamitos Super Derby. After the Vandy’s Flash, all of us ran down the stairs to the offices to see if we could enter him to the Super Derby.”

     Lesley made the late payment of $25,000 to make Jesstacartel eligible to the Los Alamitos Super Derby trials on October 20.

     “If he continues to do well, we would have felt bad that he didn’t get a chance to run in the trials,” she added. “In the trials to the Golden State Derby, that’s probably the best he’s ever left the gate.”

    With Cruz Mendez up, Jesstacartel was second at the start but was rolling late on the way to solid half-length victory in a time of :19.50. His winning time was 1/10th of  second faster than the time of the next  fastest qualifier, Moonie Blues. Now Joyner and her husband, former MLB All Star Wally Joyner, will have a chance for another graded stakes win, their first at the track in 16 years.  

      “We had a horse named Memories To Keep that won the Grade 2 Bitterroot Futurity in 2001,” Joyner recalled. “We’re now so excited for Sunday night.”

      Jesstacartel will start from post number six and will be going after his seventh career victory in eight starts.

     While Jesstacartel’s dam made less than $100 on the track, the horse starting from post number five, Lucky Seven Ranch’s Devil In A Blue Suit, is out of Blues Girl Too, the richest female horse of all time. The winner of the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity in 2006 and the Champion of Champions in 2007, Blues Girl Too is also the only Quarter Horse filly or mare with over $2 million in career earnings. Devil In A Blue Suit has one victory in his career, but did show a lot of late run when overcoming a troubled start in his derby trial on August 5.


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