Jaxon Traveler Delivers For Three Pines Farm's Pineau

Jaxon Traveler has been a model of consistency on the racetrack. After a 3-for-3 debut season in 2020 that included a victory in Laurel Park's Maryland Juvenile Futurity, the son of Munnings was named Maryland-bred champion 2-year-old male. He carried that success into a 3-year-old Maryland-bred championship after winning Oaklawn Park's Bachelor Stakes and Pimlico Race Course's Star De Naskra Stakes while picking up placings in the Chick Lang Stakes (G3) at Pimlico and Quick Call Stakes (G3T) at Saratoga Race Course. Jaxon Traveler earned his first graded victory as a 4-year-old in the 2022 Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) on the Preakness Stakes (G1) undercard. Now a 6-year-old, he appears to be better than ever, winning three of his last four races, which included two successful journeys far away from home to New Mexico. He exhibited his tenacity March 16 to earn his second win in the Whitmore Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn, holding off grade 3 winner Tejano Twist by a nose. The Maryland-bred is closing in on the million-dollar mark, having earned $891,849, and has been a joy to watch for his breeders, Drs. Lenny and Pat Pineau. Born and raised in Maryland, like their star colt, the passion for horses was acquired from an early age. The couple bought property across from the old Sagamore Farm in Glyndon about 30 years ago to build their Three Pines Farm. The couple has enjoyed quite a bit of success, having bred or raced more than 25 horses that were either stakes winners or stakes placed, including grade 3 winner Purely Hot, the dam of grade 1 winner Eight Rings. Lenny Pineau sat down with BloodHorse to discuss his operation, his joy in watching Jaxon Traveler and his younger half sister, and Maryland racing. BloodHorse: How did you first get involved in racing? Lenny Pineau: My dad had racehorses and my uncle was a trainer. I’ve been around Thoroughbred horse racing all my life. I originally got involved after college pinhooking yearlings to 2-year-olds in training sales. That evolved into getting my own broodmare band with my wife, we’re both veterinarians. We breed pretty much all our mares in Kentucky and foal them in Maryland. BH: Have you always lived in Maryland? And tell me about Three Pines Farm. P: Yes, born and bred in Maryland. My folks were from New England, but after the Second World War they moved down to Maryland because there wasn’t any work. We have an 80-acre farm in Worthington Valley, across from the old Sagamore Farm the Vanderbilts used to tend. I guess we lived here for about 30 years, a long time. We bought the property and then built the house and the barn. BH: Tell me a little bit about your farm's success. LP: I think we have bred and or raced over 25 horses that were either stakes winners or stakes-placed horses out of the variety of mares that we’ve had over the years. The mare Listen Boy, who is the dam (of Jaxon Traveler), has a 2-year-old by Liam's Map who’s down in Florida now. She had an unbelievably gorgeous Jack Christopher filly this year and she’s going back to Jack Christopher in the fall. It’s so amazing. We shipped her down to Kentucky—the guy keeps sending me pictures—so much better looking than all the other babies on his farm. BH: What kind of joy and excitement do you feel at this time of year with all the foals being born? LP: The joy—I know this sounds kind of funny—but I deliver them myself. I enjoy the whole process. My wife and I are both small animal veterinarians, but my original intent was to go into large animal practice. When I went to New Bolton Center, I was the number one large animal person in my class. The limitations of large animal practice and day-to-day life wasn’t what I found I really wanted to do, so I went into small animal practice. We have over 5,000 clients at our practice. I’ve always had a passion for horses, my kids all rode. I rode at a private school in the area on a show team and galloped horses at racetracks when I was a kid. I’ve been around the Thoroughbred industry my whole life, just a passion that I have. My wife shares it with me, which is really nice. BH: As a breeder, what is your approach? LP: I do a pretty thorough investigative search on the crosses that are successful, that work with certain mares that we have. Since there’s a commercial end of it, you look at the commercial end. Obviously, all the (new stallions) do pretty well because they're new and nobody knows if they’re good or bad. After they had two or three crops run and they aren’t running well, they’re kind of useless and are hard to sell. We try to get new young stallions or older proven stallions that are from farms that have credibility and draw the good mares so the marketability is there. Marketability is a big part if you want to stay in the business. You have to be able to sell if you want to pay the bills. BH: Do you remember much about Jaxon Traveler when he was young? LP: I delivered him and he came out in amazing fashion. He was always an exceptional weanling and yearling. He was always very athletic, very quick. It was obvious that he was an athlete, he had an athletic build. He was also short-coupled, so he was going to be a sprinter. The Jack Christopher that I have this year out of the same mare, she’s gorgeous. She’s an exceptional baby. Looks like a sturdy colt, not a filly. She’ll do well, too. BH: What has it been like watching Jaxon Traveler’s success throughout his career? LP: He’s been champion 2-year-old and champion 3-year-old Maryland-bred. It’s been a real thrill. Anytime your horses do well, you get great joy out of it. BH: Aside from being your home state, why is Maryland such a great place to raise and race a horse? LP: Maryland is a great place from a weather standpoint. While we do have four seasons, we have great summers, springs, and falls. There’s always good hay and grass. The horses get four seasons. A few cold parts in winter they seem to live through pretty well. It’s also a state that has racing year-round. The interest in racing is real. People appreciate it, which is really nice, especially during these times. It’s interesting times for the whole industry, for the whole sports industry. BH: What are your thoughts on the future of Maryland racing with changes that are coming to Pimlico? LP: I’m excited for the future. I think marketing is a much bigger part of racing than people recognize. My passion for horses is because my father had a passion for horses and used to go to the racetrack. He bet and owned a few horses, and I think I picked that up and my kids the same way. From a marketing standpoint and from a betting standpoint, everything is done on television now, so you don’t get the turnout that you used to get at the track. But there’s still a great group of people in the state of Maryland that enjoy horses, and having a track nearby is good. Laurel is pretty far away from Baltimore, and Pimlico is a track that was neglected for years. I do really believe if they fix the track up, and the areas around it, they’ll be able to get more people to come to the track. Baltimore is close to a lot of people that enjoy horses and enjoy betting. If they fix the area up and make it safe and comfortable for the people going to the racetrack, I think it will do real well. They can regenerate new interest in the sport. Today, you have to market pretty strongly to get the people to come in and bet. There’s a lot of competition for the betting dollar.