Justwaveandsmile Rallies to Capture $75,000 Ben’s Cat

Justwaveandsmile Rallies to Capture $75,000 Ben’s Cat

Spun Glass Breaks Through with Stakes Win in $75,000 Jameela

BALTIMORE – Steve Newby’s Justwaveandsmile came with a strong late run on the far outside to pass 3-5 favorite Grateful Bred and Grade 3 winner Jaxon Traveler and earn his third consecutive win and sixth in a row on the turf in Saturday’s $75,000 Ben’s Cat at Laurel Park.

The fifth running of the Ben’s Cat for 3-year-olds and up and 34th renewal of the Jameela for fillies and mares 3 and older, both sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the turf, were among four $75,000 stakes restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses on a 10-race program headlined by the $100,000 Deputed Testamony for 3-year-olds and up.

It was the first career stakes win for jockey Jean Alvelo, aboard for back-to-back 5 ½-furlong turf sprint wins June 17 and July 2 at Laurel heading into the Ben’s Cat, Justwaveandsmile’s stakes debut.

“[It’s] more than amazing. It’s a dream come true,” Alvelo said. “You come in here every morning and work horses and try to do the best you can. I really do appreciate all the help from Dale and the owner. I’m more than excited.”

As expected Jaxon Traveler, winner of the May 21 Chick Lang (G3) on dirt in his prior start, got out quickly and was in front after an opening quarter-mile of 23.90 seconds, pressed to his outside by 2021 Maryland Million Turf Sprint winner Grateful Bred. The top two turned for home together before Grateful Bred forged a short lead following a half in 46.89, with Alvelo staying patient.

“We were trying to rely on the speed to go and sit off of it and make one late run,” Alvelo said. “Thankfully the speed went and were able to stalk it and he made a good move.”

Grateful Bred remained in front while Jaxon Traveler dug in along the rail, but neither could hold off Justwaveandsmile’s late flourish on the far outside. The 5-year-old Secret Circle gelding ran 1:04.46 over a Kelso turf course rated good to edge Grateful Bred by a neck, with Jaxon Traveler a length back in third.

Showtime Cat was fourth, a neck behind Jaxon Traveler. Kenny Had a Notion, Double Crown and Youngest of Five completed the order of finish. Matta and Alwaysinahurry, the latter entered for main track only, were scratched.

Justwaveandsmile began his career on the dirt before being moved to the turf last summer. He posted three straight wins to end 2021 and opened 2022 running fourth in an off-the-turf optional claimer May 15 at historic Pimlico Race Course prior to his current streak.

“We were hopeful that he would run well. He’s been doing well,” winning trainer Dale Capuano said. “He just took a while to develop, so we’re pleased. It was a very tough race. We know he’ll run on a softer turf, so we figured we’d take a shot.

“It set up like we hoped it would,” he added. “He was a little further back than I thought. These horses don’t stop. You’ve got to go get them, and he was able to do that so we’re really proud of him.”

Bred, owned and trained by Hall of Fame horseman King Leatherbury, who presented the winner’s trophy, Ben’s Cat won 32 of 63 career races, 26 stakes and more than $2.6 million in purses from 2010 to 2017. A four-time Maryland-bred Horse of the Year, Ben’s Cat died July 18, 2017 of complications from colic surgery.

Spun Glass Breaks Through with Stakes Win in $75,000 Jameela

R. Larry Johnson’s homebred Spun Glass split horses in mid-stretch and held off a host of late challengers including defending champion and stablemate Ellanation on the far outside to earn her first stakes victory in the $75,000 Jameela.

It was the fifth career win for Spun Glass and third with jockey Feargal Lynch aboard, including a June 5 optional claiming allowance triumph at Laurel. They closed to be fifth in her previous start, the 5 ½-furlong Goldwood June 25 at Monmouth Park.

“[She’s] definitely more consistent this year. Last time at Monmouth she finished up really strong,” Lynch said. “There was a lot of pace in the race [today]. It was a little bit softer than I thought it would be, but she handled the ground really well.”

Lynch was unhurried on Spun Glass as Golden Can sped through a quarter-mile in 22.70 seconds and a half in 47.81 with two-time turf sprint stakes winner Can the Queen giving chase to her outside. A gap between the top two opened as they came down the stretch and Lynch put Spun Glass through to get to the front, powering home by 1 ½ lengths in 1:04.28 over a Fort Marcy turf course labeled good.

Ellanation, like Spun Glass trained by Michael Trombetta, raced far back early before making a big late run on the far outside to edge 35-1 long shot Island Philo by a head for second. It was another head back to Whiteknuckleflyer in fourth, followed by Mattitude, Dendrobia, 8-5 favorite Can the Queen, Golden Can and Margie’s Heaven.

The Jameela was the fourth race this year for Spun Glass, seventh behind Can the Queen in the May 20 The Very One at Pimlico under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in her first start in nearly eight months. She followed with her win at Laurel before being beaten less than four lengths in the Goldwood.

“I think she’s actually grown up a bit. She’s mentally better. Mike’s done a great job and Feargal fits her terrific,” Johnson said. “I think she needed the race at Pimlico, but the jockey told me afterwards if he hadn’t been eight wide he thought he’d have been there. I think she’s just gotten more mature and we figured out she’s a turf sprinter, period. It’s just a matter of making sure we put her in the right spot. I actually don’t think she liked the soft ground today so I think she overcame that something that wasn’t in her best interest. It was a great afternoon.”

Jameela won 16 stakes including the Maskette (G1), Ladies (G1) and Delaware (G1) handicaps before being retired following the 1982 season as the first Maryland-bred to surpass $1 million in lifetime earnings. She had two foals before passing away from colic in 1985, the first being 1988 champion sprinter Gulch.