Led by morning-line favorite Goldencents, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint
winner Hightail and Grade 2 victor Bern Identity, a strong field of nine
juveniles has been assembled for Saturday’s 10th running of the Grade 3, $1
Downs Jackpot. The winner will garner 10 points toward a possible starting
position in next year’s Kentucky Derby on the new “Road to the Kentucky Derby”
First post at the Vinton, Louisiana track is 1:15 p.m. (CST), with the Delta
Downs Jackpot scheduled for 4:15 p.m.
Goldencents is the 5-2 morning line favorite off his runner-up effort to
presumptive champion Shanghai Bobby in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont
Park. Trained by Doug O’Neill, the Into Mischief colt was making only his second
career start in the Champagne following a smashing 7 1/4-length debut score at
Del Mar. Goldencents drew the far outside post with regular rider Kevin Krigger.
Hightail, who is conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, will be
the first Breeders’ Cup winner ever to start in the 1 1/16-mile Delta Downs
Jackpot and is fourth as the third choice on the morning line at 9-2. The
Mineshaft colt broke his maiden in the Breeders’ Cup and will keep Rajiv Maragh
in the saddle.
Bern Identity figures to attract plenty of support off his convincing
three-length win in the October 20 Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs. Installed
at 7-2 by the oddsmaker, the Kelly Breen trainee broke his maiden by 13 3/4
lengths at Belmont Park and then captured the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes at
Saratoga. The Bernstein colt recorded a respectable third to Shanghai Bobby in
the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes two starts previously and breaks from the rail
Saturday with a returning Paco Lopez.
O’Neill will have two chances for victory in the race as he will also send
out Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes winner Know More. Runner-up in the Grade 1 Del Mar
Futurity and Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes, the son of Lion Heart never handled the
footing when switching surfaces in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf most recently
and will pick up the services of jockey Mario Gutierrez. These are the same
connections of this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have
Another, and Know More is the early third choice at 4-1.
Since 2002, a total of six horses have participated in the Delta Downs
Jackpot before going on to compete in the Kentucky Derby as three-year-olds. The
most notable was Closing Argument, who finished second in both races during his
2004 and 2005 campaigns.
Saturday’s program will also feature the Grade 3, $500,000
Princess and the $150,000
The Delta Downs Princess is headed by 5-2 morning line favorite Salamera, who
finished second to the talented filly Kauai Katie in this year’s Grade 2
Adirondack at Saratoga. The Delta Mile will feature 2011 Grade 2 Louisiana Derby
winner Pants On Fire and last year’s Delta Mile winner, Decisive Moment.
Delta Downs will offer a special $100,000-guaranteed Pick 4 on Jackpot Day,
with the $70,000
kicking off the wager. The Delta Mile, Delta Downs Princess and Delta Downs
Jackpot, respectively, are the final three legs.