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Veteran sprinter Jaxon Traveler earned a frontrunning victory in the Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes at Sunland Park in New Mexico on Sunday, Feb. 18, winning by three lengths and recording a stakes victory for the fifth consecutive season.

The 6-year-old came into the Bill Thomas, a 6 1/2 furlong-affair, with a perfect 1-for-1 record in New Mexico. He won the Zia Park Sprint in his final start of 2023, then finished fifth in the King Cotton at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 3 in his 2024 bow behind speedy stablemate Skelly. Despite the defeat, he was sent off as the 1.70-1 second choice in the six-horse Bill Thomas field.  

Breaking from the rail, Jaxon Traveler was immediately sent for speed by Joel Rosario, and quickly opened up by a length while racing off the rail. He received a brief challenge from Perfect Dude, who tried to sneak up his inside and apply more pressure, but Jaxon Traveler kept him at bay while rattling off a first quarter-mile in :22.44.  

Jaxon Traveler turned for home after a half in :44.67 and began to open up on the rest. As they passed the eighth-pole, he had built up a four-length lead and had removed all doubt from the outcome. Loco Luna rallied late to cut into the margin, but could do no better than second. The final time on a fast main track was 1:14.90.

The trip to Sunland marked the 11th different track Jaxon Traveler has raced over in his career, and his record now stands at 8-7-5 from 27 starts, including six stakes wins, and earnings of $741,849. The Maryland-bred champion male at 2 and 3, he capped off a perfect 3-for-3 season at 2 with a win in the 2020 Maryland Juvenile Futurity, and came back the next year to win the Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn Park and Star de Naskra Stakes at Pimlico.

As a 4-year-old in 2022, he earned his first graded stakes victory in the Maryland Sprint Stakes-G3 at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard, then captured the Zia Park Sprint for his first victory since. He’s also been stakes-placed 10 times, including a pair of graded races. 

Jaxon Traveler is owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and trained by Steve Asmussen. He was purchased for $140,000 by West Point at the OBS April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale in 2020. That was the second time he sold at auction; he previously went for $80,000 to Grassroots Training & Sales at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Jaxon Traveler, a son of Munnings, was bred by Dr. and Mrs. A. Leonard Pineau. He’s out of the After Market mare Listen Boy, a Sagamore Farm homebred who earned $61,950 in her nine-race career and was stakes-placed. The Pineaus purchased Listen Boy for $26,000 carrying her second foal in November 2015.

All six of Listen Boy’s foals of racing age are winners, including her first, Nuclear Option (First Defence), an 11-time winner of $423,951, and My Candy Girl (Twirling Candy), a six-time winner of $222,831. Current 3-year-old Brysons Option (Cross Traffic) broke his maiden at Laurel Park on Dec. 16. Listen Boy’s most recent foal is an unnamed 2-year-old colt by Liam’s Map. A mating to Union Rags for 2023 did not produce a foal; she was bred to Jack Christopher for 2024.

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