LARC NEWS Posted: 8/20/2018 3:42:59 AM


        Owned and bred by Lesley Joyner, Jesstacartel made his case for being the top 3-year-old on the grounds after racing powerfully under hand urging from post number six to defeat an outstanding field in the Grade 2, $221,300 Golden State Derby on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

         Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Mark Skeen, Jesstacartel was eighth at the start of the 400-yard race, but he quickly found his stride while taking a narrow lead over stakes winners Apollitical Stone and Moonie Blues. Moments later, Jesstacartel’s long strides started to be the difference, as the gelding by One Sweet Jess e began to pull away from his pursuers in the final 100 yards on the way to scoring a half-length victory in a time of :19.640.

        For Jesstacartel, the victory was his sixth in eight career starts and the Golden State is his third stakes win since mid-October. Yet, it was a second place finish in the Vandy’s Flash Handicap on July 1 that got Joyner and her husband, former MLB All-Star Wally Joyner, excited enough to make the late payment of $30,000 to make him eligible to run in the trials on October 20 to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby.

     “We made the right choice, but we knew that on the night that we supplemented him,” Lesley said.  

      Jesstacartel earned $92,946 for his effort, essentially covering his fee to the Super Derby trials with plenty of cash to spare.

      “It was amazing, the whole thing was amazing,” Lesley added about the race. “It was so much fun to see with Mark and Holly (Skeen) and their entire team with Jesstacartel. He responds to them. He was quiet and calm.”

            Jesstacartel’s victory came against a field that included Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby winner Jess My Kiss, Grade 3 La Primera Del Ano Derby and Vandy’s Flash winner A Political Lady, Brazilian stakes winner Yashira Vista, and 2017 John Deere California Juvenile Challenge winner SC Vapor Trail. But they all ended up chasing Jesstacartel, who came into this race as the fastest qualifier from the trials and was sent off as the 4/5 favorite. Even when A Political Lady broke thru the gate and had to be reloaded, Jesstacartel remained standing still in the gate while keeping cool, calm, and collected the entire time. 

            “He’s getting better every time,” Skeen said. “He didn’t run many times last year, but we knew he was a nice horse when we were working him. Then he won those two handicaps, the Autumn Handicap (October 14) and Corona Chick Handicap (November 18).  We had him in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby trials (in late January), but on the day of entries his temperature spiked. We ended up scratching him. We didn’t have him paid into anything so we took him home. We took him to our ranch (in St. George, Utah). He had already won a few nice races and he wasn’t in the El Primero Del Ano Derby so we just took him home and we let him rest and grow up for a while. We took him out to a paddock for a couple of months and just let him loose to enjoy his time off.

“We brought him back up and got him ready, and now here we are. He was a big horse that just needed to grow up. I wanted to run in the Winter Derby because he was ready. We were going to take him home at that point. We had to change our plans a bit. It all worked out.”

After watching Jesstacartel win his Golden State Derby trial by a half-length in the fastest time of :19.50, Skeen began to focus on helping Jesstacartel  run a similar race in the final. 

“To repeat those kind of races, it doesn’t always happen,” Skeen said “To come back and run like how he did in the trials, that’s pretty good. I am happy for the Joyners. I’ve trained for them for quite a while now. I had a really nice horse for them many years ago (Memories To Keep). They’re great people and it is fun to train another good one for them.”

Among the happiest with Jesstacartel’s winning effort was Wally Joyner, a star with the then California Angels from 1986 to 1991. He also played with the Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, and Atlanta Braves before retiring with the Anaheim Angels in 2001 following a 16-year career.


      “I was a nervous wreck,” Wally Joyner said of watching the race. “He’s been racing great and to be in this group of horses and race as well as he did, it’s exciting. He was in the (gate) for a long time, (but) broke really well. We know how he can finish. Give him a shot and we like our chances. He wasn’t winning (early). He broke free and really extended himself in the last 100 yards. What an amazing horse.”

      Joyner, who finished eighth in the voting for American League Most Valuable Player in 1986, is now following Quarter Horse racing closely thanks to Jesstacartel.       

      “I’m very involved right now,” he said. “I look up all these horses and compare (Jesstacartel) to the others. We’ve been in and out of the business for 20 years. One of Lesley’s first horses was really good and we had a great time with that. It didn’t take me long to get back into it.”

       It looks like the Super Derby will be next for Jesstacartel. 

      “We didn’t know how he was going to come back,” he said. “He raced really well as a 2-year-old and was looking good as a 3-year-old. He got sick and didn’t race (in the Winter Derby trials), so we had to find out what he could do. He showed it quickly (in the Vandy’s Flash) that he belonged in this field. We are excited about his future. He’ll next race October 20th in the trials to the Los Alamitos Super Derby. That’s my understanding. Mark and Lesley make those decisions. I’m just along for the ride, which I am enjoying.”

      Jesstacartel is out of the Stoli mare Stolmeacartel, who only raced twice in her career for earnings of $84. Her mother, the Corona Cartel mare Buena Cartel, never even raced.

      “Stolmeacartel is at Mark’s place in St. George,” Lesley added. “We’ll breed her again to One Sweet Jess and we’ll find one other stallion for her.”

       Jesstacartel has now earned $139,571 in his racing career.

            Jose Flores and Steve Mickaelian’s Apollitical Stone earned $37,621 for his second place finish. The winner of the Oatman Stakes on February 25, Apollitical Stone has earned $147,239 in his career. Lisa Anderson’s Moonie Blues, the winner of the Wild West Futurity last year, earned $26,556 for running third. The runner-up in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity last year and third place finisher in the Winter Derby and La Primera, Moonie Blues has bankrolled $433,285.  Jess My Kiss, A Political Lady, Perfect Louisiana, SC Vapor Trail, Yashira Vista, and Twenty One Gunz completed the field.




CURRENT NEWS Expand/Collapse

RACING & RESULTS Expand/Collapse




CalRacing Promos