December 24 – Jakobs Rocket Girl quickly seized command of 7 furlong Allowance/Optional Claiming contest at Tampa Bay Downs and held on for a brave victory.
A 3-year-old daughter of Kantharos, Jakobs Rocket Girl was purchased privately by Sallusto & Albina bloodstock as a juvenile. Racing in the colors of Riversedge Racing, she dominated a February 22 Maiden Special at Gulfstream Park by 7 1/2 lengths. That effort earned her a berth in the Game Face Stakes.
Jakobs Rocket Girl went to the sidelines after the Game Face and was then turned over to trainer Ian Wilkes, who had her ready to fire off an eighth month vacation.
The victory is the latest success for lontime Sallusto & Albina Clients Robert Vargo and Norm Castiglione who race together as Riversedge Racing, LLC. In 2017 alone Trooper John reeled off a trio of early summer Stakes victories before a pair of hard-luck seconds in the Canadian Derby (G3) and British Columbia Derby (G3).
The emotional highlight of the year for Riversedge came in the July 9 Shirley Vargo Handicap. They won with Curlish Figure, a filly secured by Sallusto & Albina for specifically for the race named in honor of Robert Vargo’s beloved late wife.