Jesstacartel Wins Golden State Derby

The homebred gelding earns his first graded stakes victory on Sunday.

Q-Racing Journal

Lesley Joyner's Jesstacartel scored a half-length victory in Sunday's Grade 2, 400-yard Golden State Derby. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

Jesstacartel, a homebred One Sweet Jess gelding owned by Lesley Joyner, earned his first graded stakes victory in Sunday's $221,300 Golden State Derby (G2) at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Cruz Mendez and sent to post as the 9-10 favorite, Jesstacartel went 400 yards in :19.640 while defeating 35-1 longshot Apollitical Stone by a half of a length. Mark Skeen prepped the gelding.

Jesstacartel was winning for the sixth time in eight outs, all at Los Alamitos, and the $92,946 winner's share of the purse from his third career stakes win increased his earnings to $139,571. However, it was a second place finish in the July 1, $25,000 Vandy’s Flash Handicap that convinced Joyner and her husband, former MLB All-Star Wally Joyner, to make the late payment of $30,000 to make the gelding eligible to run in the October 20 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) trials.

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

“He’s getting better every time,” said Skeen. “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," the trainer added. "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.

“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.”

Moonie Blues finished third, a head behind Apollitical Stone, and was followed by Jess My Kiss, A Political Lady, Perfect Louisiana, SC Vapor Trail, Yashira Vista, Twenty One Gunz, and Devil In A Blue Suit.

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